FRAMINGHAM – Entering its 25th season, the EMASS Senior Softball League is launching its annual recruitment campaign for players age 50 and over.
The 400-plus member league draws players from towns across Eastern Massachusetts with games played on fields in Canton, Framingham, Medfield and Wayland.
The season begins May 1 and runs until Labor Day, with playoffs in early October.
EMASS members range in age from 50 to 90. The average age is 67 with 55 players in their 50s and 31 players in their 80s. Members range from casual recreational players to those who play on nationally competitive tournament teams.
Regardless of a player’s skill level, there is a spot for them in one or more of EMASS’s five divisions.
Two divisions play doubleheaders on Saturday mornings. while the other three divisions play doubleheaders on weekdays.
“EMASS is a vibrant community of seniors with a passion for softball who compete in a spirited, sportsman-like manner,” said Rob Mitchell, Commissioner of EMASS, in a media release. “Many of our members transition from younger leagues so they can continue playing ball in a senior league. Others are looking to get back into the game, be part of a team again and maintain fitness while having fun.”
The spirit of the EMASS Senior Softball League is evident in its post-game tradition of the opposing teams forming lines to congratulate each other with high fives and fist bumps.
It’s much more about playing than winning and celebrating their ability to triumph over aging. Many players credit their participation in the League with helping them stay physically and mentally active, enjoy retirement, get past illness or transition through other life challenges.
“I had a softball career that came to an end in 1999 because of addictions to alcohol and drugs, but a life-changing experience started me down the road to recovery, which eventually led me to EMASS,” said Tim Collins, an EMASS member since 2014. “On the field in my first game, I was never so happy, as I was back where I belonged playing softball. EMASS has become a very important part of my recovery. Life is so much better now that I am playing softball again.”
“I grew up in Taiwan with a passion for baseball and since joining EMASS, I look forward to spring every year,” said Chia-Li Huang, an EMASS member since 2010. “Everyone in EMASS is nice, friendly and has welcomed me warmly. I was actually a stranger to playing ball, but my skills have improved thanks to the advice and support from my teammates. Now I am involved in game management, which allows me to enjoy the game at a different level.” I’ve felt very lucky and grateful that EMASS welcomed a guy with no experience into their softball family.”
“After serving in the U.S. Navy for 26 years, I retired and moved from Washington, D.C. to Boston to fulfill responsibilities as a caregiver to my wife, a 12-stroke survivor, and my elderly parents,” said Bob Vincent, an EMASS member since 2014. “Immediately upon arrival, I was fortunate to find out about EMASS Senior Softball, which has provided ample opportunities to make new friends and engage in a competitive physical activity while affording me a little personal time each week. The camaraderie I have experienced with EMASS has made my transition to civilian life and relocation to Boston quite easy.”
“In early 2015, while a member of EMASS, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer,” said Larry Fegan, an EMASS member since 2007. “I got tremendous support from everyone on my team and in the league, especially as I continued playing during the early part of my treatment. This made a big difference for me emotionally. The camaraderie and brotherhood within EMASS had a direct impact on my recovery. In 2017, I returned to EMASS, playing in 3 divisions, joining the board of directors and coordinating our youngest division.”
To recognize the League’s 25th Anniversary, 2019 EMASS players will receive a Silver Anniversary jersey and hat and join in a celebration banquet for players and their partners.
Visit www.e-mass.org to learn more about the League and to register for the 2019 season.
Founded in 1995 with four teams and 80 members, EMASS has evolved into five divisions, 31 teams and 400 members. Of the original players, five are still playing strong: Jerry Levin (84), Paul Rosenbaum (82), Fred Scerra (86), John Stewart (87), and Mark Waldron (81).
EMASS players participate in an annual tournament in Cuba called the Friendship Games. Many of the Cuban players join EMASS tournament teams that play in Florida and Cape Cod.
For more information about EMASS Senior Softball League, visit www.e-mass.org.