The inaugural running of Soulful Softball Sundays at Nichol Park last weekend was a home run — filled with much smiling, laughter and friendly competition, attendees reported.
On Tuesday, community advocate Rodney Alamo Brown sent us a five-minute video of the event (created by Sharome U-Shaka Skinner), which attracted an estimated 100 participants from throughout the Richmond area. The games, which run from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and continue through the end of the summer, are meant to unite the community in a positive, fun and active way. All adult community members are encouraged to take part; the only request is that participants bring along a soul food dish to share.
Former Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Norris has been tapped as commissioner of Softball Sundays. Brown expects even more participants this weekend, when there are fewer competing events in the area.
The first 20 people to arrive this Sunday at 2 p.m. will receive a free “Richmond Proud” long-sleeve baseball shirt (see below). The shirts were donated by Chevron Richmond community engagement manager Andrea Bailey, organizers said.
Softball Sundays operate on one-pitch softball, meaning batters get just one pitch for every at bat. If the pitch is called a ball, the batter walks, and when batters swing and miss or hit a foul ball, they’re out.
“Speeds up the game so nobody gets bored,” Brown said. “Keeps ’em focused.”
Drugs and alcohol are prohibited at these family events, which are presented by The Sons of Issachar, Brown says.
“Everybody’s always talking about there’s nothing to do in Richmond,” Brown said. “We must create our own fun.”
Skinner commented that Softball Sundays is proving to promote unity in Richmond, where long-running neighborhood feuds have for years fueled tensions and violence. People from all over the community attended and a precautionary presence by Richmond police wasn’t needed, he said.
Even when it got competitive, folks had a good time, Brown added.
“[Sunday] was a great day in Richmond history,” Skinner said. “Some folks don’t believe North, South, Central, Parchester, Hilltop and other areas of our city can come together in love, peace, and solidarity….Blessings to the 100 or so people who showed up to play and spectate.”
For more information, visit the league’s Facebook page here.