FALMOUTH – Second baseman Mick Byers, 68, three weeks after a total knee replacement, caught some air and snagged a line drive. It wasn’t a lot of air. But it was definitely air. There were witnesses.
And, more importantly, he caught the ball.
“I’ve been playing all my life,” he said, explaining what he was doing playing softball for a team sponsored by Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub for the Cape Codgers, a softball league for players 55 and older. In the winter, he plays softball as well as pickleball in Florida, he said. And then he comes back to Falmouth each summer for this.
“Have fun and try not to get hurt. That’s the mantra,” said Robert Zibbell, 72, a second baseman for the competing British Beer Company team at the Falmouth Heights Field.
This was the opening week of the season of the eight-year old league that now has six teams and more than 100 players. Beyond softball, they raise money for charitable endeavors, but mostly this seemed a chance to find the sense of a word, repeated often in random interviews, “camaraderie.”
These really are, as Zibbell once coined in an essay about the league, “The Old Boys Of Summer.” They move a bit slower, and some of their limbs have been repaired, but their exuberance for the game is as strong as ever.
“It’s more about fun than it is about competition,” said Ed Dewitt, 67, of Falmouth, who is the executive director for the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.
Pete Mouris, 61, who works in IT for a bank, is the coach and an outfielder for the Liam Maguire’s team. “We all have a love of softball and baseball. We all played in our youth.”
Mouris said he didn’t know anyone in the league when he joined. “Now I know 100 guys,” he said. “I love sports. I wanted to play something. There was no place to play until I found this. There are some competitive leagues out there, but we take pride in just having fun. We have a lot of fun. We don’t take it too serious.”
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— Brian Tarcy