Senior seeking seniors to play on Aspen softball team
ASPEN – Attention seniors: If you can hit, field and run – or just enjoy playing softball – David Kopstein has a spot for you on his roster.
A seasonal resident of Aspen, Kopstein, 64, has played softball over the years in Wisconsin and Hawaii, where he keeps a permanent residence. The leagues in those states thrive, he said. But in Aspen, Kopstein has learned that fielding a team of seniors isn’t that easy.
“I would love to have 20 people sign up,” he said.
But as of Friday, Kopstein had landed just six senior recruits. Realizing the unlikelihood of fielding a team of all seniors – minimum age, 60 – Kopstein successfully picked up another six players in their 30s. His team will be called the Boomers, and they’ll be playing in the coed recreational league, one of three softball conferences run by the city of Aspen’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Both men’s leagues, the recreational and competitive versions, have reached their eight-team maximums, said Keith Bulicz, recreation supervisor for the city. The coed league has five open spots, Bulicz said.
Bulicz also noted that this is the first year games will be played on the artificial turf at Iselin Field. Iselin and Rotary fields also have fences this year, another first.
Cost is $780 per team. Play begins June 4.
Meanwhile, Kopstein said he has scheduled a meeting for 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Pitkin County Senior Center, located at 275 Castle Creek Road.
“Virtually everybody I meet, I ask them if they want to play softball,” said Kopstein, who plays second base and some outfield. “But a lot of the people I talk to like to swim and play tennis.”
Kopstein has been in talks with Bulicz to adjust the rules for seniors – such as playing with a larger softball and refining the base-running rules for seniors as a safety measure.
Bulicz, however, said he’s not ready to tweak the rules without the backing of the managers of the other teams.
“If I modify rules for this team, every time they go out and play the other teams have to know the rules,” he said. “They have a difficult enough time understanding the rules as they are.”
Bulicz said in 2006 he and Mary Barbour, program director at the senior center, tried to drum up interest for senior softball.
“It just never developed,” Bulicz said.
Kopstein said he sees softball as a great way to socialize and have fun.
Quoting former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Kopstein said, “We don’t quit playing when we get old. We get old when we quit playing.”
For more information about Aspen’s softball league, contact Bulicz at 970-948-2192.
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