Community A Winner For Help With Athletes

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Having once worked alongside Charlene Brown at The Payson Roundup, I know she’s not easily rattled.

But even she admits that some of the challenges of hosting the Gracie Haught Classic softball tournament last weekend had her on edge.

Not being able to use the Rumsey I ball field was the main obstacle she had to overcome as tournament director.

A few months ago, a new water line was laid west to east through the field and the construction process left good-sized trenches and potholes on both the infield and outfield.

As it was midway through last week, the field was unplayable and could have led to injuries to players.

Brown and others, however, made a last gasp effort to repair the field, which Brown calls the most esthetically pleasing of all the Rumsey Park fields. It also has a snack bar, announcer’s booth and is conveniently located close to the main ramada.

Rumsey I has traditionally been the focal point of the tournament.

Brown and others’ efforts to repair the field in time for the Classic were of no avail prompting her to move all games originally scheduled for Rumsey I to the Kiwanis West field.

As if moving the games wasn’t enough of a challenge, Brown had to worry on Saturday that some game might have to be postponed due to the inclement weather hovering over Payson.

Fortunately, all the games were played as scheduled despite wind and cold.

Brown also had to step up during her pre-tournament planning to help find overnight accommodations for teams who could not afford motel rooms due to their school’s limited athletic budgets.

Brown eventually ended up hosting the entire Show Low team in her home and found others willing to take in visiting players and coaches

“It was a frustrating week,” Brown said.

It’s obvious putting on the tournament was sometimes a pain in the you-know-where, but Brown says it all turned worthwhile when coaches and players expressed to her their genuine thanks for hosting a first class tournament they won’t soon forget.

Particularly memorable for Brown was watching the teenage players revel and enjoy themselves in Friday evening’s 8th Inning celebration in PHS gym.

Coaches also mobbed Brown prodding her to invite their teams back next spring for what will be a 10th annual milestone.

“In the end, it was all worth it,” said Brown.

Town sports program

Registration is taking place now through April 15 for the town’s Adult Spring Co-ed Softball League. The season begins April 22.

Recreation and competitive divisions will be offered as long as a minimum of four teams sign up for each division.

A player cannot play in more than one division or on more than one team. All participants must be at least 16. The fee is $275 and includes the ASA registration fee.

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