Seniors keep active through softball leagues

By Anthony Welch

Gayton Albarano never played softball as a kid, but he took participated in neighborhood pickup baseball games.

He never imagined that he’d be playing softball one day, but it has changed his life for the better. The 71-year-old is going on 25-plus year of playing the sport that’s helping keep seniors active, according to Albarano.

“It keeps me in shape,” he said. “It gives me ambition to stay in shape to do more exercise.”

Albarano, also known as “Gator” is one of the organizers for Colorado Springs Senior Softball. The organization hosts leagues for men ages 50-plus and women ages 40-plus. In fact, 50-plus leagues take place Mondays at Skyview Sports Complex, 60-plus plays Friday mornings at Skyview and the 70-plus league takes to the field on Monday mornings at Cottonwood Creek Park.

Players are welcome to play in whichever level they feel comfortable, according to Albarano.

“We have some guys 70-plus that are capable of playing in the 50-plus leagues,” he said.

Aside from those leagues, players can join the Colorado Senior Softball Travel League (CSSTL). Teams in that particular league play up and down the I-25 corridor, from Colorado Springs to Loveland, Albarano said. The season runs through October.

There are also openings to join 50-plus through 80-plus teams that travel out of state to compete. That league is run by Scrap Iron Senior Softball.

All leagues have already started play, however, there is room to add a few more teams if enough players are interested, Albarano said. There are open rosters spots in the 60-plus and 70-plus leagues. Anyone interested in playing senior softball can contact him by calling 719-282-4096 or emailing gfa90@hotmail.com.

Albarano played a little while living in Maryland. He then moved to Colorado Springs in 1992 and co-workers encouraged him to join them on the softball field.

“I had planned to only be here a few years,” he said. “Twenty-six years later, I’m still here and playing all the time. It gets your heart rate going.”

Along with the health and fitness benefits, Albarano loves the fun and friendly atmosphere the softball leagues provide.

“The camaraderie is amazing. Just going out after and having a few beers is a great time,” he said. “You make a lot of friends. I practically know every one of those guys playing. The amount of friendships I’ve made is just tremendous.”

Albarano’s love for the game is infectious. He may be in his 70s, but he has no plans to hang up his mitt anytime soon.

“I’m going to go as long as this thing can take me,” he said. “We have guys still going strong in their 80s. It gives you something to look forward to in life.”

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