Oh No, My Roster’s Been Frozen! …. What Now?

by Bobby Graham 16. January 2015 12:04

 The question is asked again and again at softball events everywhere, and the answers may not be the same depending upon the sanctioning organization rules for any particular tournament.  So let’s talk about SPA’s rules, what they mean, and why they might be the way that they are.

 Why do we have such rules?

 When softball players or athletes in general come to the park to compete, it’s just human nature that everybody wants a chance to be competitive or at least a glimmer of hope that they might win.  For that reason, most softball organizations, SPA included, try to “classify” the teams, such that similar skill levels wind up competing together.  Let’s face it nobody (win or lose) enjoys the “run-away” games that wind up forty to nothing embarrassments.  So teams are grouped and classified to try to give everybody a sporting chance.

 Classifying teams is a difficult task at best, when one considers that these teams are traveling and playing all around the country, sometimes with one organization and sometimes with another.  The task of evaluating and classifying teams becomes almost impossible, when the teams show up with different players at every tournament.  Let’s face it there are too many teams out there that will “load-up” with new and better players at every opportunity.  While we all understand that it is a necessity for teams to occasionally replace players, constant wholesale change just to “sandbag” and build a team that is stronger than its classification is wrong, and destroys any chance of proper classification for that team as the season progresses.

 To make classification meaningful in both its men’s and women’s programs, SPA has chosen to “freeze” each team’s roster, when that team plays its first tournament of the year.  In other words, when a team “qualifies” for the World Tournament by playing in any SPA tournament, that team’s roster is going to be held to rules designed to maintain the team’s classification.

 What does “frozen” mean? Are we stuck?

 Does this mean that I can’t play anywhere else?

 There is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what a “frozen roster” really is in SPA, so let’s see if we can answer some of the concerns.  First of all, a player is NOT stuck on a roster once it has been “frozen”.  SPA has no restrictions on players being dropped from a qualified roster, except to say that once dropped a player may not return to that same qualified team.  No releases or approvals are required. So if a player wants to leave their team to join another team, he/she may certainly do so, as long as he/she is eligible to be added to their new team’s roster.  Likewise, it is legal in SPA for a player to be on more than one roster and play with more than one team, as long as those rosters are for different age groups. There are special rules concerning “double-rostering” that allow for playing on two teams in the same tournament with restrictions, but as long as a player is playing with another age group on separate weekends, then there is no problem or restriction.

  What if a player is sick or injured? Are we just out of luck?

 Once a team’s roster has been “frozen”, everybody understands that there will be times when illness, injury, or unforeseen circumstances will require an additional player.  To try to accommodate these needs, SPA allows any team to add 2 players to its “qualified” (frozen) roster, but to try to keep the classification issues in line they require that these players come from a higher age division.  This way a team can still keep their qualification to World, continue to compete, and yet still remain within their current classification rating.

 Is there any way that a roster can be “Unfrozen” so that we can start over?

 Sure, we all know that a situation may arise that forces a team to have to totally regroup and just start over.  Whatever the circumstance that might cause this to happen, because now we are dealing with groups of new players from the same age group, it necessitates the need for a brand new evaluation of that team’s classification rating.  For that reason, SPA requires a team that needs to be “unfrozen” to officially register that need, so that the roster can be opened and the classification review process can begin anew for that team.  In line with this review, the team is required to “re-qualify” for the World tournament by playing in an additional SPA event.  This re-qualification gives the classification committee an opportunity to evaluate the newly formed team in a game situation.

 We all wish that this was an ideal world, where every team is competitive and the old “you get yours and we’ll get ours” mentality could work, but that’s just not the world that we live in.  The rules that SPA has put in place represent a very honest attempt to make the game more enjoyable for all.

  

 

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General | Tournaments | Women

EDITORIAL BY JUDY LEE

by Judy Lee Schrieber 30. September 2014 11:17

 The SPA Masters Women’s World Championship was a great success. The first weekend the 35+ and 40+ teams had wonderful weather and some very close games. There was a Social Friday night sponsored by CVB of Dalton where soft drinks and Stromboli were served to the ladies.  I was deeply SURPRISED by Ridge Hooks when he came out with a big cake and a beautiful bouquet of Lilies for my birthday.  Everyone sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me and then the rains came cutting the event short.  Thank you to all the teams and individual players for all your Best Wishes. 

 The second weekend was another great success.   We had 52 teams total who participated in our World Championship and the weather was absolutely beautiful.   On Thursday, we had the National Senior Softball Hall Of Fame where Jean Mills of Canada, Becky Stanfil of Tennessee, Evelyn Nealeigh of Ohio were inducted and they also received a Key to the City of Dalton.  SPA Merit Awards were given to Jeanne Dieteren, owner of Softball Buddy’s Website of California (accepted by Karen Osborn), Patty Cox of Alabama, and Jerri Turner of Tennessee for their participation and support of senior women’s softball. …. And then another BIG SURPRISE to me….. Ridge come out with another cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me again.    At Opening Ceremonies Friday morning  Ridge presented me with beautiful flowers and again everyone sang Happy Birthday.   All was greatly appreciated and I thank you Ridge and Ann Hooks, all teams and individuals for making my 80th birthday so very, very SPECIAL. The weekend ended with a fun-filled Friday night Social at Peacock Alley where I joined in with the band for some “pickin and sangin”.  The evening ended with ice cream compliments of CVB of Dalton.

 I would like to thank the City of Dalton for their great hospitality, Ann and Ridge Hooks for their support of women’s softball program, and everyone that attended and participated in the tournament.  See all you ladies in November in Jacksonville, Fl.

 Judy Lee

 

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Tournaments | Women

''OH, CANADA” TOPS THE CHARTS AT DALTON

by Hockepuck! 30. September 2014 00:02

     CANADIAN DUET BIG HIT IN THE OPENING CEREMONIES

 DALTON, GEORGIA – Some times an unexpected mishap can turn into the biggest positive occurrence which could be experienced.

Such was the case at the opening ceremonies of the SPA 60 AA DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA SEPTEMBER 11-14.

We were getting ready for the parade of flags when we realized we couldn't find the MAPLE LEAF CANADIAN flag,” SPA CEO RIDGE HOOKS said, “Fortunately CAVCO SPORTS from WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA brought one they were going to put on the back of their dugout.”

Ah, but HOOKS and his opening ceremonies were still not out of the woods.

The CD we had for 'OH, CANADA' (the CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM) was scratchy and not good at all. We were in a predicament with no other CD available.”

All was not lost as two members of the CAVCO SPORTS 60'S contingent volunteered to sing the anthem a cappella.

Stepping up to do the honors were TOM MCNORTON and AGNES DANDREA. Not only did they sing the anthem in perfect pitch but also added the French version.

It was the highlight of the Opening Ceremonies.

It was tremendous, “HOOKS said, “I wish we could have taped it and be able to use at all future Opening Ceremonies. I can not say enough about MCNORTON and DANDREA, they were fantastic.”

HOOKS also praised the CAVCO ladies for their baskets for the raffle at the LADIES BREAKFAST.

Probably one of the best raffle baskets we have ever had at the tournament,” HOOKS said, “The CANADIAN LADIES certainly brought their “A:” game and we are so pleased they attended the tournament.”

While the CAVCO LADIES did their part off the field, the men did theirs' on the field winning the SPA 2014 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

In addition, MCNORTON, who was half of the anthem singing duet was just as good on the field, earning ALL-AMERICAN selection.

Not bad for a CANADIAN.

And guess what. In the flag ceremony, the American contingent even raised the MAPLE LEAF right side up. It was a great day to be CANADIAN.

I hope their (CAVCO) experience was as great for them being here as it was for us (SPA) having them attend,” HOOKS said, “They made the 2014 SPA AA WORLDS a very special event and all of us hope they will be back in 2015. They are very special people.”

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General | Tournaments

EDITORIAL BY JUDY LEE

by Judy Lee Schrieber 28. August 2014 22:58

I began putting some of my thoughts down on paper and wanted to share them with you.  To find out about True Friends, read below.  Enjoy….. 

“SOFTBALL FRIENDS ARE FOREVER"

 

      Softball is not just a sport where you play a few
games and then you go home.
    There is more that comes out of it than
winning or losing.
With softball comes some of the best friends that you will ever
encounter.
You play on teams together, you laugh together you cry together.
You meet new friends through softball
from other teams too.
It’s a never ending chain.
    A real softball friend is one who is there for you on the
field and off the field.
A real softball friend is there to help you with your bumps and bruises.
A real softball friend is there to pick you up after a rough game or
congratulate you
after a great one.
    A real softball friend keeps in touch with you after the
season has ended and
for many years to come.
    I just wanted to let you all know that you are my real
softball friends.
    I will always be there for you and will always keep you in
my heart.
    This is not a chain letter. It is a poem written to let you
all know that someone does care about
you and will
never forget you. Send this to all the
    people you consider your real softball friends and when you
get it back you
    will know who your real softball friends are,

 

SOFTBALL HISTORY

 

 HOW  SLOW PITCH SOFTBALL WAS SET IN MOTION

  

The earliest known softball game was played in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day, 1887.  It took place in the Farragut Boat Club at a gathering to hear the outcome of Yale and Harvard football game.  When the score was announced and bets were settled, a Yale alumnus threw a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter.  Another person grabbed a stick and swung at it.  George Hancock called out “Play ball” and the game began, with the boxing glove tightened into a ball, a broom handle serving as a bat.  The first contest ended with a score of 41-40.  The ball, being soft, was fielded barehanded and thus, the game became softball.

 

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General | Women

SYLVANIA OHIO SENIOR SOFTBALL SIZZLES

by Hockepuck! 18. August 2014 12:32

 JERRY KEEFE'S MARKETING SKILLS PAYS DIVIDENDS

  SYLVANIA, OHIO – Sylvania, Ohio has become one of the fastest growing success stories in not only SPA but in all of senior softball.

 In eight years the SYLVANIA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE has grown from one ten team league to two leagues with twenty teams and nearly 300 participants from age 50 up.

 In addition, the four-year old SPA SYLVANIA GREAT LAKES NIT CLASSIC, spearheaded by members from the SYLVANIA organization, is now in the top sixteen attended senior softball tournaments among all SPA, SSUSA and ISSA senior tournaments east of Las Vegas.

 Although he won't take all the credit he deserves, JERRY KEEFE has been the major moving factor in both.

 It took a lot of people not just one to get the ball moving to form the League and the tournament,” KEEFE said, “ GORDON HIRSCH, BRUCE ANDERSON, GARY MEYER and myself got the idea to start a senior league back in 2008 and that is how it started.”

 Most of the original members of the League came from the East Toledo organization and really weren't happy with the ETO.

 Borrowing on his marketing skills as MARKETING DIRECTOR for TOLEDO JEWELERS, KEEFE organized a marketing plan that would make any organization proud.

 Using a newspaper blitz in all papers within a FIFTY-MILES radius, he promoted and advertised for senior softball players. He then devised a mailing list using names of former players from rec leagues the quartet knew and topped it off with a phone blitz.

 Reaching potential customers, advertising the product and then selling it is the secret to any marketing plan and it really worked well for us,” KEEFE said.

 Another major factor in getting the league going and keeping it growing in popularity since 2008 has been sponsors.

 We couldn't keep our price per player down without sponsors,” KEEFE stated,”Without them it would cost players over $100 to sign-up in the League as opposed to the $70 we now receive”.

 The sponsors take care of the team shirts and hats and the league's biggest expense then are the field rentals and year-end awards. Members of all the league championship teams receive jackets and we also have additional individual awards at the Leagues Awards and Recognition Banquets,” he explained.

 Foremost among the sponsors is FRICKERS SPORTS BAR in SYLVANIA. Owner RAY FRICK sponsors six teams in the twenty-team league. He also backs the 70'S FRICKERS SPORTS BAR travel team and is constantly contributing additional money to the organizations operation.

 Speaking of tournament teams, there are travel teams in the 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 teams from the SYLVANIA league.

 Having travel teams has also helped increase our membership as members look forward to playing in different locations like Columbus, Barberton, Dayton and Shelbyville, “ KEEFE explained. “Maybe in a few years we can go to DALTON and other SPA tournaments.”

 Attending SPA tournaments in BARBERTON and COLUMBUS also gave KEEFE the idea to have a senior tournament in SYLVANIA.

 I contacted SSUSA and SPA but nobody was interested in us,” KEEFE explained, “But that changed when SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS met with me at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC TOURNAMENT in JUNE, 2011 and talked with me about the possibility.”

 I was thinking, yeah right, you will probably forget about me and SYLVANIA as soon as you get back to OKLAHOMA. BOY WAS I WRONG!!.”

 HOOKS flew to SYLVANIA in JULY to meet with KEEFE and PACESETTERS ROB CONOVER about SYLVANIA hosting a tournament.

 He followed that up with another meeting in DECEMBER and shortly thereafter the SYLVANIA GREAT LAKES NIT was born.

 Just like the creation of the SYLVANIA SOFTBALL LEAGUE, getting the tournament started also was not a one-man operation,” KEEFE said, “In addition to ROB CONOVER and PACESETTER PARK, we received a lot of help from SPA's LARRY MILLIRON and HO HOFFMAN, especially through promoting our tournament at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and on their web site. HO and RED BOLE also furnished us with their data base of over 200 teams with names, e-mails and phone numbers we could contact about our tournament.”

 KEEFE and the SYLVANIA tournament might have needed help at the start but now they are not only running on their own, but also helping other SPA tournaments directors.

 In his marketing mailer about the SYLVANIA tournament, KEEFE also promotes THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, COLUMBUS and other area SPA tournaments.

 Those tournaments are always promoting our tournament on newsletters, web sites and handouts at their tournament, so we do the same for them,” KEEFE explained, 'I have found if SPA area tournaments work together to promote each other, we all benefit.”

 The SYLVANIA League also has one of the best marketing tools in senior softball with their own web page at sylvaniaseniorsoftball.com. Lots of interesting articles, player profiles, current news and archives.

 However, it also has one of the best photo shoots in any senior web site. JOEL HANSON does a fantastic job with his pics on teams, individuals, sponsors, awards and such.

 Surprisingly, the one thing KEEFE is most proud of is not the tournament or the league but rather a special event put on by SYLVANIA LEAGUE COMMISIONER JAY SCHRAMM and members of the SYLVANIA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE.

 In MAY, SCHRAMM along with the league organization raised over $30,000 for the WOUNDED WARRIORS PROJECTS. It was done mainly through a triple header softball event featuring WOUNDED WARRIORS, SYLVANIA POLICE. SYLVANIA FIREMEN and SYLVANIA LEAGUE players among others.

 There was also a number of other fund raisers and activities.

 KEEFE and SCHRAMM both agree there should be more to senior softball then just wins and losses.

 With the creation of the SYLVANIA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE and the tournament, seniors have found an outlet to participate in an activity that they had previously given up on,” KEEFE summarized, “At SYLVANIA PACESETTER PARK, senior players have found their own “Field of Dreams”

 And you really couldn't ask for more.

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General | Tournaments

About the Editor

Ho Hoffman of Wadsworth,Ohio is a sports writer for the Medina (Ohio) Gazette daily newspaper. Hoffman also has been playing competitive softball for nearly sixty years and 3,000 games starting in the adult fast pitch leagues as a teenager and continuing through into today's 70's senior division.  

Hoffman for the past twenty years has also been playing on senior softball travel teams. In addition, he along with Red Bole are the tournament directors of the highly successful SPA Ohio Buckeye Classic June senior softball tournament which last year drew 77 teams, in the 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 75 AA and AAA only divisions. 

He is also married. He and his wife Sue have three sons who are also active in softball and baseball. The youngest Matt plays adult slo-pitch softball, Mike plays Roy Hobbs 40-and over baseball and Marc is the founder, owner and president of U.S. Baseball Academy, the nation's largest baseball training program.

 

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