On Aug. 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act and on Aug. 1, 2005, many local retirees born in 1935 or before will participate in a 70-or-older softball league at the Dagsoboro Church of God on Route 113 in Dagsboro.
There are plenty of physically active senior citizens and many of them are clamoring for a way to stay fit. Some are choosing softball.
Current Old Tymer softball participant (over-55 division) and Senior Olympic silver-medal team member Pete Rendina of Selbyville explained that keeping active is the key to staying young.
“You have to use it or lose it,” said Rendina. “If you don’t stay active then you age much quicker.”
Rendina and about 25 other Delawareans traveled to Pittsburg in early June to compete in the Senior Olympics and Rendina’s team, the Delaware Naturals, narrowly missed winning the gold medal in the over-70 softball division to Ohio’s Brennan’s White Hats, 6-5.
In addition to competing in the Senior Olympics every two years, Rendina plays about 100 games in various leagues throughout the year.
“Softball is my life,” said Rendina. “I’d rather play softball than eat.”
The Old Tymers over-70 division will start this season with two teams that league organizer Roger Howard said he will have no problems filling.
“Right now, we’re starting with two teams that we’ll easily fill,” said Howard. “This league is informal and is more recreational, for people who have played before and want to play on their own level. It has opened up a whole new realm for older guys.”
Each game will last five innings and both teams will play each other one or two times per week.
To reduce the possibilities of on-field injuries, league organizers have implemented a few adjustments to base running to avoid collisions.
First base has been doubled in size so the first baseman and the base runner both have ample room to make their respective plays. In addition to extending the size of the base, the base runner’s portion of first base will be painted red to maintain the desired distance between the two players.
Also, base runners advancing from third base will have a special baseline that will extend 8 feet outside of the baseline to, again, avoid any collision at home plate.
It’s been 10 years since Howard started the Old Tymers over-55 softball league, and since then it has expanded to eight teams and now has added a whole new age bracket.
Though the league is primarily made up of men, there are a few women that fill the ranks and show everyone that not only can senior citizens still play but senior women can still play, too.
“There are a couple women who play in the over-55 league that are about as good as anyone in the league,” said Rendina.
“Softball is such a big part of life around here that we’re hoping that some of Delaware’s older players will join our league,” he added.