AMHERST – None of us will be around forever, but when 76-year-old Bill Lewis goes out, he wants to do it with style - with either a baseball glove or a golf club in his hand.
Lewis was signing up for another season of senior’s mixed slopitch Monday morning at the Tantramar radio station in Amherst, and when asked what keeps him coming back year-after-year, Lewis said, “I don’t mind dying as long as it’s on a ball field or a golf course. I’d play eight days a week if I could.”
Lewis is one of about 20 seniors who participate each year in the Amherst Seniors Mixed Slopitch League, which starts its fourth season May 12.
Several of his teammates were at the radio station on Monday, and several of them bragged about Lewis' slopitch skill-set.
Asked about his baseball experience, Lewis said, “let me put it this way, I played against some of the best ball players in Montreal and Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t number one, but I played with the best of them.”
Wayne Lines was also signing up for another season of slopitch.
“We have some in their sixties who haven’t played ball in their life and thought it would be fun to try, and some of them are doing really good."
Judy MacGregor is one of the coordinators of the league. She agrees with Lines.
"It’s fun to see people who have never thrown a ball, and to watch them turn into players who play full games,” said MacGregor.
MacGregor says it’s a great way to meet new people, and to meet people who haven’t seen each other for a long time.
“We have one girl who used to play for the River Hebert team way back, and the River Hebert team was really, really good and won everything, and a girl who used to be on the Amherst team said, “I just love it because now those River Hebert girls have to play with me on this team,’” said MacGregor.
Games are played Monday and Wednesday morning at Robb’s Centennial Complex in Amherst.
“If we had more people we would play more days,” said MacGregor. “We could get the field four days a week if we need it.”
The games are played from 9:45 to 11:30 a.m.
Teams are chosen each day by throwing gloves into a pile and then dividing the pile into two piles.
Also, the teams don’t have names.
“We don’t have team names, but we do have some personal names like stupid-ass or dumb twit and thing like that,” said Hugh MacGregor with a laugh.
The MacGregor’s are from Nanaimo, B.C., and moved to Amherst six years ago.
They are grateful to the Town of Amherst for letting them use the ball field for free.
“We played ball in Nanaimo and we had to play $1,500 a year to use the ball field,” said Judy. “The town has been awesome.”
Seniors slopitch uses a different set of rules ensuring people have fun and are safe, including: no stealing bases, no tagging, no bunting and no strikeouts.
The no strikeout rule means that each batter will remain in the batter’s box until they hit a fair ball.
The league is open to anybody 50-years-of-age-plus, and registration is $15 per-person.
For more information, or to register, call Hugh and Judy MacGregor at 660-2959, or Mary Adshade at 667-2164.
Also, the season begins May 12, and anybody can register at Robb’s Centennial Complex.