Senior softball team boasts playing – and staying – power
Tuesday and Thursday mornings, cheers coming from the fields of the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center can be heard in the parking lot a block away. The noise isn’t from the youth intramural sports that are frequently played at the center.
No, it’s all due to the Young Viejos, a softball team of 40 men age 65 and older. Hundreds have played on the Young Viejos for the last 15 years, since the Youth Center was renovated in 1997, and it’s clear there’s no deficiency in gusto.
The team’s composition is diverse. Its military veterans include Tony Snetro, who served in the Navy in World War II. He’s been on the team from the beginning and is its oldest player at 95.
“I’m the only original left, and I won’t stop coming anytime soon,” said Snetro, who needs no assistance on field. He runs the bases, hits the balls and plays right field.
“I’ll be playing with the Young Viejos until I die,” Snetro said. “Because I am retired and no longer have much to do, playing softball with the team is something I look forward to.”
Like Snetro, the Young Viejos team offers no hint of slowing down. Player Ron Cold says interest is high in joining, and there are more applicants than spots. So what’s the big draw, besides enjoying softball?
“Camaraderie and strong sense of community,” said Cold. “While we do play competitively, team members value company over performance.”
Even when the players are practicing casually, there’s no shortage of teasing and jokes thrown around. The oxymoronic team name “Young Viejos” (Young Old Men) can best be understood when watching the spirited players in action.
Though the Young Viejos do not belong to a league, they compete in tournaments against other senior softball teams. “We sometimes play against teams with former professional players,” Cold said, then smiled. “We look like the ‘Bad News Bears’ compared to them!”
Gianni Moskofides is a sophomore majoring in advertising and public relations at the University of Miami.