For 20 years now, the game of softball has been kept alive and well for more than 160 Sussex County senior men who continue playing a game they love.
The Old Tymers Softball of Delmarva League has been thriving and growing continuously on the two fields located behind the Dagsboro Church of God on Hickman Street.
“We’ve gotten bigger every year with 15 to 20 new players each year,” said Bo Wood, OTS president and manager of the Pivot Physical Therapy team. “We don’t advertise. It’s all word-of-mouth.
“Our youngest player is 60 years old, and our oldest is 83 — soon to be 84. The median age is 70. We have 160 guys playing right now. It’s a couple days a week. We umpire ourselves, do all the field work. It’s a neat league. We have a waiting list of guys that are looking to play.”
The Dagsboro Church of God gave the fields to the OTS for their use, and the group of guys has truly made them their very own “Fields of Dreams.”
“In Sussex County, there’s no recreation department,” Wood continued. “So, as seniors, we do it all ourselves. We built these fields ourselves. Back in 2007, Church of God gave us the permission to do it, and we have done all the work on them.”
Fences enclose both fields, while covered bench areas provide some shade from the blazing hot sun on game days. Three games each Tuesday and Thursday are played at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon.
And they don’t just play in the summer — no. This large contingent of fellows plays year-round, as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees.
“It is a chance for us old guys to go out and have a little fun,” Wood said with a laugh. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years now. We play all year. We have our Fall Ball league, but we are still out here playing in the winter as well, if the temperatures allow it.”
The league consists of 13 teams, each of which is sponsored by local businesses or organizations. The Atlantic Orthopedics team currently sits atop the standings, with a 16-3 mark, as of Coastal Point press time on Wednesday.
Bin 66 (15-4), American Legion Post 28 (13-6), Community Bank Delaware (10-8), Pivot Physical Therapy (10-8) and Edward Jones Investments (10-9) round out the top half of the standings.
“We play every Tuesday and Thursday,” Wood added. “Guys are out here every week. There are six teams playing every Tuesday and Thursday. Our sponsors like us and have no problem paying the $350 fee. We follow our sponsors, and we have a good time with them.”
The league does do a couple of fundraising events throughout the year, such as a bowling event and golf outing, but those all are just side gigs for the Main Event, which takes place from May 1 to the end of August.
For more information, visit www.eteamz.com/Delmarvaots or contact Wood at (302) 945-1849.
By Jason Feather