Good times on the fast-pitch field

There were no major injuries, as far as I could tell, from Saturday’s Old Guard/Young Punks fast-pitch softball exhibition at Centennial Fields in Worthington.
As far as I could tell, anyway. The worst thing that happened was when Tom Steffl of the “Old Guard” stepped down off the pitcher’s rubber in such a way that he came off limping. I haven’t done a status check on our former pitcher-coach, but here’s hoping he’s back on the beam.
All in all, Saturday’s games (we played two) went off without a hitch. Nobody motored around third base grabbing for the back of his leg. Nobody had a heart attack.
I’m talking here about the old guys, of course. If some Young Punk pulls up lame, twists a knee or bruises an elbow, it is a far less serious affair. Those young people recover quickly. Not so, us oldsters.
I detected a few “oooohhhh’s” that time I backpedaled to catch a lazy fly ball and fell with my head bouncing off the outfield grass, but I sheepishly returned onto my feet like any good crash-test dummy would.
The best thing about Saturday’s event, from the standpoint of us old and retired players, is of course the opportunity to renew acquaintances and re-live old times. We told some old stories (some of which could even be considered suitable for this newspaper). And for those of us who’d been out of town for a few years, we filled in the missing blanks.
I look forward to next years’ event. It would be great if the idea of this tournament/exhibition could expand to a tournament of larger significance, with real teams and real competition — like the old days, when Centennial Fields hosted men’s fast-pitch tournaments that lured fine teams from throughout the state and including Iowa and South Dakota.
Worthington deserves to see a good men’s fast-pitch tournament again. The game play is fast-paced and furious. You can play six seven-inning games by the time it takes to play two amateur baseball contests, and when the pitchers are high-powered there’s just nothing like it.

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