The Senior Women's Legends League (SWLL) was formed sometime in February 2010 by Sandy Cavin. She had moved to Englewood in 2006 from California, and her friends from back home had asked her to play on their tournament team. Because she stopped playing softball when she moved here in 2006 she wanted to get some practice before the tournament. Another friend of hers knew a gal named Connie Kennedy who was a Hall of Fame Fresno State basketball player who also was a pitcher.
They both got together and she would come and pitch to Sandy. When they ran out of balls they would walk out to the outfield, pick up the balls, and start again. As you can imagine this got old in a hurry, especially during the summer, so, Sandy started to visit softball fields looking for a women's league. The men said, all they knew was a league in Venice but the leagues mostly had younger women and some of them were co-ed leagues which was not what Sandy was looking for.
Since Sandy worked closely before with a friend who started a Senior League in Orange County, Ca, Sandy decided that the league would have to get started one player at a time. She then named Connie Kennedy, as the second member of the League. Sandy had another friend make up flyers and she put them up as many places as people would let her. She also talked to the Men's League and they suggested she talk to Mike Billington at Englewood Sun-Herald. He was very accommodating and got the ball rolling by doing a story on what they were attempting to get started. Next thing she knew they had 4 players and then 6 players and etc. Summer rolled around and they had about 11 people. Sandy thought about stopping and trying again in the fall due to the heat, but the players said no, that they needed to keep on holding practices and getting the word out. Onward they went and as they grew, they finally had enough people for two teams, and a handful of snowbirds that wanted to play when they returned in the fall. It also took lowering the minimum age from 55, down to 50, then down to 45 and finally they decided 35 was the right age to capture enough players to get the league going. The Englewood Sun-Herald covered the first game and as people read the articles, they kept adding people.
Orignal Two Teams - DNR Legends and Silver Legends
The League now boasts 6 teams and over 100 players who participate during the year. The oldest player is 73 and the youngest is 35. We continue to hold Open Practices on Saturday mornings. What's nice is that the younger players take a very active role and helping to ensure the league is strong so that it will be here for when they get older and as for the other players who have either stopped playing due to raising children, jobs, or lack of availability of this recreational opportunity, now have a way to enjoy or learn a new sport. On the flip side, the younger ones respect that our older players are out here doing this at their age!!! Our goals are fun, camaraderie, support and softball! We take players from all skill levels. We utilize a draft system to ensure that teams are competitively viable. We also use a substitute system when we know that people have families that visit, or they go on vacations or have commitments, or even may get injured so that the games can carry on. We also have League parties and Ice Cream Socials during the year to build up the strength of the league. We utilize 3 commissioners to make determinations for the league and have volunteer managers that really believe in the way the league is set up. Every player who shows up is in the game, nobody sits the bench. They may rotate in and out defensively, but everybody bats. We play by Senior Softball USA rules. And to make our league special, we have community sponsors that help keep the costs low for the players.
A mention needs to go out to the fine working relationships we enjoy with Sarasota County Parks and Recreation and the Maintenance Department in helping to meet our needs.