30 YEARS OF PROGRESS
By Jack Tanguay
30 years ago, on a field situated on West Dell Webb where Freedom Plaza retirement
home is today, nestled between a garden and the woods, a makeshift softball field
was created out of a vacant lot and three teams started competing in what was to
become the Sun City Center Softball league. 30 years later on a regulation diamond
complete with bleachers, sound system, electronic scoreboard, first aid station
umpires and statisticians, 8 teams form the Sun City Slow-pitch Softball league and
two more teamsí play a regular schedule in the 70 and over Sarasota Regional
Between these two dates, 1980 and 2010 hundreds of players ranging in age
from 55 to 85 have proven and continue to prove that they can excel! in a demanding
sport usually better suited to younger generations.
These players come from all over the United States, Canada; South America and
even Europe. They come from all walks of life. They are or were business men,
engineers, CEOs, salesmen, policemen and firefighters, accountants, pilots
medical doctors and nurses, teachers and heads of colleges, retired officers
from the armed forces and journeymen. On the diamond they are all ball players
judged solely on their skills, their sportsmanship and their love of the sport.
In the course of the next few months, we will try to follow the progress of the league
through these years. We will get acquainted with some of the players and the fields
where they played. We will meet the presidents of the league and their staff and
how the organization advanced under their administration. We will get to know the
coaches, the umpires, the community leaders and the sponsors who made it
The list of contributors to the writing of these articles is long and individual
recognition is not possible. I seize this occasion to thank all those who helped
make these musings a reality. The same situation applies to the participants
in the game. Many will be mentioned and their stories related. Many more will
not because of time and space constraints. Yet others have left us and are
now playing in the big leagues in heaven.
To all past and present players I say thanks and congrats. To all future
players, welcome, and if the next 30 years are anything like the first 30 ones
You will not want to miss the action.