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Still playing, still winning: Senior softball team looks back on 25 years of staying active

WEST ALLIS -- As we get older, we have to make sure we are staying active. That isn't a problem for this group of guys -- and they're winning while doing it.

Mondays in the summer at McCarty Park in West Allis are all about softball -- senior softball.

"It's still a lot of fun to play," said 70-year-old Tim Whiting.

"You're never too old to play. Never," said 69-year-old Ron Bruce.

Mixed in the league are a group of men who have competed and won together on a national level for over 25 years.

"I started when they did, in 1992. It was just a wonderful experience," said Bruce.

Ron Bruce

Bruce has been playing on the traveling team, now known as "Handeland Flooring," since the start in 1992. Now, he's the manager, but it was Don Derivan who was the original skipper.

"Oh, it was a blast, those first two years. We knew we were pretty good when we were younger, so I guess the expectations were pretty good. We were going to go to Florida at our own expense, so I guess our expectations were to at least go down there and compete," said Derivan.

They've won multiple plaques, rings and championship medals at 65+ tournaments in Arkansas and Indiana this year.

"We have fun. We are competitive on the field. We've all experienced success. All of us," said Bruce.

While they hold some of their original players, there's been some change.

"We always played against each other early in our careers and people have gone by the wayside, whether it was interest, injury, just whatever. We've gotten back with each other, but playing on the same team, and it's so much fun," said Bruce.

Tim Whiting

Whiting joined in 1997 as a pitcher.

"I either played with or against all the guys and knew them all and knew it was a great group of guys, so we got together and played with them ever since," said Whiting.

 

 

Whiting also managed the team, creating one big challenge.

"The good thing is, we always had a good group of guys. The tough thing is, sometimes when you have 15 or 16 guys and you only could play 11 or 12 or only wanted to play 11 or 12, well then who do you sit? Because the majority of the guys are all good players, so therefore, that was sometimes a problem," said Whiting.

"I don't care if you're 40 or 60. They still want to play," said Derivan.

"All my friends. All good friends. Like I said, we've been playing together for over 20 years. A lot of the guys have gotten to be better friends over the years obviously," said Whiting.

"So we've all experience successes. Some defeats, but mostly successes. That's why we keep going, but even if we didn't experience success, we just enjoy playing with each other, each other's company and on a competitive level," said Bruce.

"That's why we continue to do it. We like to play and we can play," said Whiting.

The team still has more games this year. They play in the Wisconsin Senior Olympics Tournament on Labor Day weekend an then in a tournament in Las Vegas in September.