To the Editor:
Your article about the new softball fields (“Softball fields costs go up,” The Edmond Sun, 12-27-11) and almost gone was very interesting. What has happened with the softball community doing some volunteer work?
In 1978 the City of Edmond made available the land where the Bickham Complex is located. At that time, it was leased out for cattle grazing. After recruiting a team of volunteers, we proceeded to build a softball complex. To make it the success that it became took a lot of dedication, hard work and the desire to provide an atmosphere that would accommodate the number of teams that had become involved in softball.
The first year we played a few games. There were no backstops. Second year, we had installed backstops. Third year, sideline fences had been installed 10 feet past the first and third bases.
The church leagues were the first to play on the fields. As incomplete as they were, we were proud for what had been accomplished. Then came the open league. Then, we added co-ed.
In the past 30-plus years, there have been hundreds of games and many hours of enjoment by adults playing softball in the summer and fall leagues.
This program was managed by a volunteer board of people who loved softball. This board left the city almost trouble free. We installed lights and the city agreed to pay our electrical bills. This was very appreciated. We paid for field maintenance, umpiring and miscellaneous expenses from team entry fees. We were excited to have these fields, as incomplete as they were.
Prior to this, teams would play at Barnett Field — sometimes very late at night to get all the games played — but what a great fellowhip. We were thankful for Barnett Field but had out grown it.
Maybe, if it were known, we could get volunteers today. We do not need to give up or downsize on this project. The adult program has outgrown this well-used complex, known as Bickham. Maybe, some of this work could be done “in-house” by the city. There has been too much invested in the past for the future of this program to not proceed with growth.
CALVIN HENDERSON was a volunteer and the first president of Edmond Softball.