Tuesday, September 11, 2012
By Ben Boldt Ben Boldt
Oct. 13-14: MYSA fall state soccer tournament
Oct 19-20: Exchange Volleyball Tournament
Nov. 8-10: NJCAA Division III Volleyball Nationals
We have the privilege of working with a lot of great people in the amateur sports world. These are people who give a lot of time and energy to a sport and seeing it succeed. Many of these partners are from the Rochester community, but we also have several partners from around Minnesota and the country.
One person who was a perfect example of that was Steve Simmons of Senior Softball USA. Simmons recently passed away and has left a void in the senior softball world. He ran events in several states, including Minnesota, and was an advocate for the game everywhere he went.
For the last several years Steve was the tournament director of the 10,000 Lakes Classic Senior Softball Tournament in Rochester. During his tenure, Steve started the tournament and grew the participation to over 30 teams annually.
The Sports Commission, Rochester Park & Rec and Rochester Senior Softball helped with the local logistics of the event, but Steve really did all the heavy lifting. He recruited the teams, lined up umpires, scheduled the tournament and did many other duties before, during and after the event. And he did this for many tournaments through the year and throughout the country.
This past week, the Rochester Senior Softball community put on a memorial softball tournament for Steve. They got the word out to other senior softball teams and due to the lasting legacy that Steve has, the tournament filled up quickly. Bill Beaupre and Ben Borgen did a great job organizing the event.
The tournament was able to raise some money, which was given to Steve's grandkids' education costs. It also offered the opportunity for Steve's softball friends to get together, recall some great stories and celebrate his life.
One of the slogans I've seen at senior softball tournaments in Rochester is: "Softball is a sport, but senior softball is a passion." And I think this slogan is pretty true. Dealing with aches and pains is part of any athlete's life, but senior players can often deal with many more than most.
It would be much easier to just enjoy retirement, but senior men and women just have a passion for the sport that overrides those drawbacks. Steve Simmons was definitely a man who had that passion. He put his heart and soul into playing softball and running great tournaments, and he will certainly be missed.
Amateur Update is a weekly column on amateur sports activities in southeastern Minnesota, provided by the Rochester Amateur Sports Commission.