COLUMBIA, Mo. —
After more than two months of tournament cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Softball USA will host its first national tournament this week with teams from around the country.
More than 60 teams from multiple states will begin play in the Missouri Open on June 4, at Cosmopolitan Park in Columbia, Missouri.
Tournament director Will Rogers will also be playing for his team, the Kansas City Kids in the 65 age group.
“We have teams from 10 states and people from 14 states that are coming,” Rogers said.
Teams range from 40 to 70 years old, and up, and are divided into five-year increments, based on your age.
The CDC recently placed travel tournaments in the highest- risk category for sporting events, listed under the youth sports guideline section.
Rogers said he still feels safe playing due to all of the protocol that will be set in place.
“I’m doing the things that I think that we need to do to be cautious, and those guidelines are what’s required,” Rogers said. “We may have 15 players from one team and 15 on another. But, we’re spread out over, a softball field is probably an acre-and-a-half, two-acres.”
Rogers said Senior Softball USA collaborated with three other senior organizations to determine safety guidelines based off CDC and NCAA recommendations.
“The catcher has to wear a face covering,” Rogers said. “The umpires wear these, special-made, the SSUSA face coverings with plastic of some sort.”
According to SSUSA, all players must social distance and avoid all physical contact. Contact includes handshakes, high fives, and interactions in the dugouts. There will be no community water jugs, or fans allowed in the stands who aren’t social distancing.
Senior Softball USA is also requiring participants to sign a waiver acknowledging the guidelines, and risks that could potentially result.
“Every manager of every team, and every player that plays has to sign the waiver or they can’t play,” Rogers said.
Rogers added that if all goes well at the Missouri Open, then his softball team will be playing in another national tournament in June, where even more teams from around the country will participate.