«August 2021»

Tackling a new ‘game plan’

At the helm of the return of Chappapeela Sports Park's Adult league, teams practice good sportmanship practices as depicted here. 

Photo Credit: Larshell Green/ Content Editor 

Change can sometimes be challenging. So naturally, when a leader prepares to leave a position after almost 30 years, it can shake up a routine.

Chappapeela Sports Park Youth and Adult Sports Commissioner Heath Brunies was notified over the past summer that the former Adult Co-Ed Softball Director Bill Skinner would be retiring from his duties. Because he had a desire to continue the successful program, he was determined to carry the torch for the people involved.

That torch was indeed lit for the current season when reports of Chappapeela’s rise in membership were reported.

In fall 2017, 7 co-ed teams and 4 male teams entered the league. A year later, the Adult Softball League has 13 co-ed teams, and 5 male teams, bringing the total number of teams to 18.

Brunies worked with the team at Chappapeela to ensure that: “Adults enjoy themselves, and have nice, clean fun with a competitive nature.”

For Walton Tate, a four year CSP veteran of softball, his reason for returning is simple: He has a lot of fun.

“I love to get out here and play softball, said Tate. “I enjoy having fun with the guys. It’s good for us old guys that can’t play baseball anymore.”

Jessica King has participated in the adult softball league for over five years. She shares her optimism for the new possibilities that the league holds.

“There’s a lot of new stuff going on,” said King. “Good luck to CSP. I’m eager to see what the future will hold. I know they’ll do great.”

Tate explains his satisfaction with how CSP handled the change in leadership for the league.

“I thought both leagues were run very well,” said Tate. “The transition was seamless. Bill was very good and CSP is continuing the track.”

With a career that includes umpiring for national tournaments, and being recognized in the Indicator Hall of Fame in Oklahoma, it’s no surprise that umpire Tim Reitz’s passion for softball runs deep.

“I love it because I’ve done it 37 years,” said Reitz. “The comradery for an umpire is that it brings us back. I’ve always done slow pitch softball whether it be men, women, children, or coed.”

The softball leagues typically occur in two seasons, the fall and the spring. Current co-ed games are held on Tuesdays at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. All men’s games take place on Thursdays at 7 and 8 p.m.

Brunies has a lot of goals this season, but at the core, he wants to ensure that members of the softball leagues know that CSP cares about them. As a joint effort, one of the largest goals of the season for the organization is to build strong relationships with teams.

“I want an individual or team to play any sport and leave the park satisfied,” said Brunies. “We want people to want to come back each week.”