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Age is just a number at Knoxville softball tourney | News

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Age is just a number at Knoxville softball tourney


(WBIR-Knoxville) A group of women competing in a softball tournament this weekend is proving age is just a number.

Caswell Park in East Knoxville is hosting the Rocky Top Women's Masters and Seniors tournament. Each of the nine teams consists of women ages 60 and up.

The Softball Players Association (SPA) encourages seniors to hit the diamond.

"Once you stop, it's hard to get back. That's what a lot of people have told me when I've tried to put together a team... 'I haven't played in a long time; I don't play like I used to.' Well, nobody does. Who cares? We're out here to have fun," said Carol "Zippy" Wartenberg of Tallahassee, Fla.

Wartenberg plays with the Chattanooga Chargers. The team is made up of women ranging in age from 68 to 77.

"People sitting at home on the couches, older people, they need to know what we do and what we don't do. They need to get out and enjoy the sunshine and the fun," said Mildred "Shorty" Lovelace, 77, with the Chattanooga Chargers.

Many of the women competing in the softball tournament did not play sports in high school because there were not teams for them.

"When I was in high school I really wanted to play basketball but they didn't have team. The boys had a team but no girls teams. This was before Title IX, of course," said Jean "Reif" Robinson, 72, with the Chattanooga Chargers.

Congress passed Title IX in 1972. It opened up opportunities for girls and women to be included in after-school athletic programs.

"Just keep going, keep going. Do what you do. Don't sit. Do not sit," said June Sonosky with the Golden Girls of Virginia. "I am 72. I just turned 72 in June and I'm proud of it. I don't care. To me, age is just a number."

This is the first time SPA has booked a tournament in Knoxville. According to SPA Asst. National Women's Director Nancy Veahman, they plan to come back next year and let men play as well.

The tournament continues Saturday morning and ends on Sunday.


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