With the Steelers in training camp and the sound of Blue Devils band practice in the air, athletes and fans are gearing up for football and other fall sports. One of the last sports they associate with this time of year is probably fast-pitch softball, but as a former member of the Blue Devils softball team, for me the first sign of fall was the Mt. Lebanon Fall Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament.
On August 24 and 25, the tournament will take over Dixon and Middle fields—showcasing the talents of these Mt. Lebanon athletes playing against high-school aged players from around the Pittsburgh area. Held annually, their tournament—along with other tournaments in coming weekends—gives the Lady Blue Devils a chance to practice outdoors against solid competition before settling in for the long Pittsburgh winter.
In addition to what the team members realize from participating, the tournament also gives the team’s boosters a chance to raise money for equipment, winter workouts and meals that the team might need for the season ahead. Primarily, that happens through concession stand sales and the volunteer labor of the boosters. They staff the concession stand and maintain the fields all weekend long.
I have fond memories of playing in these tournaments—despite the fact that I had to be on the field much too early. I had the opportunity to see where my game was, and we could understand where the team was strong and what we needed to strengthen during offseason conditioning. Spending all day around the field also gave us a chance to bond as a team.
When I was playing, I never really thought about how much work goes into this one weekend on the part of coaches, players and boosters. At the time, I appreciated having a great burger, a walking taco and macaroni salad to power me through the day. Now, I appreciate what they all did for us.
Just as important to the team is the Mt. Lebanon community. Locals would stop by for something to eat while they watched skilled players on our local fields, which was a big help with the fundraising. As a player, it felt good to look up and see people watching us play, too.
If you happen to be passing Dixon and Middle fields on August 24 and 25, you’re welcome to stop by and grab a meal, a cold drink or just a snack. On Saturday, Lebo is scheduled to play at 11, 12:30, 3:30, and 5 p.m. I know that the team would appreciate your support.