Bob Ruhland has spent a lot of sunny summer days on a baseball diamond. “I played ball all my life basically.” And he’s not ready to give it up yet. “You gotta love it. Wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love it, right?”
That’s why Ruhland was one of the co-founders of the Greater Madison Senior Softball League, exclusively for players over the age of 55. “The average age is now 67 because most of the guys-we don’t get a lot of guys in their 50’s because they’re still working.”
The League was an overnight success, with people calling non-stop to sign up. “We had eight teams that first year. We thought we’d get three. Well then the second year we ended up with ten.”
Now more than 200 players show up every Wednesday in the summer to swing the bat and stretch a single into a double. “They come from all over. And they drive in. They’ll carpool just for that hour and 10 minutes of fun. They want to play.”
Of course some of them don’t run as well as they used to. “You have to know your limits,” says Ruhland. “You know you can’t again play like you did 40 years ago when you were kids.”
While the games and the players are still competitive Ruhland says the guys know they’re here to stay active and get out of housework for a day. “It’s not always about winning or losing. It’s about having fun at the old ballpark. And you never know when it’s your last day on the diamond.”
With that perspective, even if you lose, it’s still a good day. “What nicer way to spend a Wednesday morning at a ballpark playing with people that have played the game and enjoy it. We’re here to have a good time, be able to participate, just be thankful we can come out and play ball at our age, that’s the big thing.”
Learn more about the Greater Madison Senior Softball League.