Softball ‘fun for everyone’

As the bustle of Homer’s summer activities arrives, the Homer Softball Association also winds up. The skilled and the amateur, the young and the young at heart all make up the eight different teams in the Homer Softball Association. Athletes 18 years and older gather at Jack Gist Park Monday-Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to play ball. 

It’s a family event, according to Homer Softball Association Commissioner Jessica Marx, and many of the supporting spectators include kids and dogs.

Britni Johnson, 20, joined the league when she moved from Colorado to Homer two years ago and said her team has now become like her family. The league was her first “social connection” in Homer, she said.

Johnson said while there are competitive aspects to the game, the Homer Softball Association’s atmosphere is generally laid back.

“It’s pretty much open to any skill level and it’s fun for everyone,” she said. “One thing that’s really neat is the variety of ages.”

Johnson is on the team co-sponsored by Kharacters and Cafe Cups and said even those new to softball still can join the fun.

“I’ve seen people come out and play who have never even had a glove on their hand before,” she said.

Marx encouraged players looking to join to visit the 2014 Homer Softball Association Facebook Group and use the page as a networking tool. 

Star Chow, who first started with the Homer Softball Association in 1981, said she loves the game. She and her husband, Bart Chow, sponsored a few teams over the years but Bart stopped playing after tearing his Achilles tendon in a game two years ago. 

“Come on down to the field and watch a few games to see who needs more players,” she suggested.

This year Star is on the Spenard Builders Supply-sponsored team.

Sponsors for teams include Down East Saloon, Beluga Lake Lodge, Excalibur Construction, The Grog Shop, Printworks, The Bidarka Inn, Homer Brewing Company and Alibi. 

There is a $45 player fee and a $700 sponsorship fee per team.

Marx said that the annual Homer City Tournament scheduled for Aug. 8 and 9, is later than normal this year, so as not to compete with the Concert on the Lawn (July 12-13) and Salmonstock (Aug. 1-3).

Shannon Reid is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.