West Side Life – Softball

West Side Blue / West Side Red : Kerry Tupper tells about the early days of the West Side slow pitch softball teams. They are still active and play from mid-June into July. The church office can provide contacts for more information.

00West Side Presbyterian has a long history of playing softball. When I was very young, I went with my Dad on many occasions to watch him play fast pitch softball for West Side. They were a very good team, winning a city fast pitch championship one year. After I got married and was about 22 years old, around 1970, some guys from West Side and I talked about playing slow pitch softball. I found a church organization in North Seattle that was playing slow pitch and they took us in as a team.

The first 2 years, we played about 10 – 12 games once or twice a week on a field just South of Northwest Hospital during April and May. Both years we took first place. We heard of a long-time group around Burien called the South Suburban Fast Pitch softball league. They were talking about forming a slow pitch division so we inquired about it. The games were going to run June through July with a small tournament at the end. We paid a small fee and began the South Suburban Slow Pitch Softball League. There was a total of six teams. We called ourselves the West Side Pres Blue team, and we did well until losing a close league championship game to Boulevard Park Church. Shortly after, we decided to meet at John Knox Presbyterian and formalize this league. We laid down bylaws, rules, and how we conduct ourselves – including prayer before games. To hold down costs we decided we would umpire our games with players from other teams in the league.

We decided that the most important trophy would be the sportsmanship trophy which would be decided by the umpires (two for each game). We also decided to play doubleheaders to hold down costs for fields and time away from family. Most of the time it was a family outing for teams. We had great times at the games and generally went for ice cream afterwards, families and all.

After a couple of years West Side decided to form a second team, West Side Red. They were considered the younger guys, Blue the older guys. The league prospered and for several years there were twenty teams playing with a waiting list to join. West Side has supported these two teams the whole time with money for the fees. Our coaches have been officers of the league and helped with scheduling. The league has always considered these teams as outreach for the churches. Many a player has come to church at West Side and experienced a different attitude in competitive sports. West Side Blue and Red still compete each year in this league. Many players are sons and grandsons of the older team members and continue to represent West Side in a Christian manner.

~ Kerry Tupper

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