ParkTalk Podcast: Senior Softball Legends

Friday, June 30, 2023

Two 89-year-old ball players from the Naperville Park District's Over 50 Softball League explain why they love the game and what keeps them coming back year after year.

Guests: Toru Fujii and Chris Argianas

Quotes from the episode:

"The main thing is the camaraderie that I have with these guys all these years. I love playing softball but the camaraderie, especially with guys like Chris, it's a joy to come out to play." - Toru

Toru pitching at Gartner Park

"The way I look at it is, you're able to smile, tell jokes, fool around a little bit, but the main thing is everybody out there, if a person's in trouble, he's got a lot of helpers. There's nobody ever left out. These are the best of the best playing ball out there. I'm not talking about skill at playing ball, I'm just talking about the people themselves." - Chris

Chris with runner at first base

"A lot of guys have physical injuries during the course of a year. You know, they are out one year, two years, and then when they recover, they come back. Maybe they lost some of their skills with their injuries, but it's nice to see them come back and enjoy playing and the camaraderie that comes with it." - Toru

"The reason we all are so happy out there--and we are happy--is that it's our field of dreams. It's nothing else but that. It's for us to get away; everybody has their trials and tribulations, but when we're out there, we are ball players, and the world goes by." - Chris

About the Over 50 Softball League at Naperville Park District

The league that Chris and Toru are a part of has been running for over 20 years. Registration information is in the Park District's Program Guide under adult athletics. Registration opens each spring and the league plays from April to October. The league is open to both men and women.

Rich Fleming, one of the players, devotes time to organizing the league and provides volunteer leadership. Chris and Toru want to thank him for all he does. He also is a talented ball player who plays on traveling teams.

This article in a national magazine, Parks and Recreation Business, features the Naperville Park District's adult softball program. Read about the Challengers' national win in this article in the Daily Herald. Chris Argianas was featured in a Daily Herald article and video when he turned 80.