ENGLEWOOD — Few can match Jodi Alexander’s love of softball.
She’s played off and on since she was 15. Although she still loves to play, she’ll have to stick to just managing the Barracuda Legends as she recovers from knee problems. The Barracuda Legends are part of the Senior Women’s Legends League, whose summer softball season started Wednesday at the Englewood Sports Complex.
“I like to coach when I can’t play because it keeps me involved with my friends and keeps me involved with the league,” Alexander said. “It’s hard to say (how much goes into coaching), because we have players from all realms. We’ve had players who never played before.”
Alexander, along with Chris Boyd and founder Sandy Cavin, are the commissioners of the 35-and-older league. Cavin formed the league in 2009 before starting play in 2011.
Boyd is the former manager of the Golden Legends. He was recognized for his contributions to the league at the opening ceremony Wednesday.
“The first year we started, we had three teams,” Boyd said. “Slowly, we’ve been kind of building up. Last season, we had six of them. We’re a little low this season so we went back to five.”
League play is Wednesdays with three games at the adult softball fields at the Englewood Sports Complex. Two of the seven-inning games are scheduled to be played simultaneously at 6:50 p.m. and one at 8:15 p.m.
“This is a fun league,” he said. “They’re sort of competitive. They play for a little over an hour and allow 10 minutes for extra innings. When we run out of time, we run out of time.”
If games are rained out, they are made up at the end of the season.
“This is one of the most organized leagues I’ve played in,” said Bridgett Brower, who plays for Legends in Training.”
“It’s the best activity for women our age,” said Gloria Davis, who plays for DNR Legends. “It builds friendships.”
An eclectic mix of players from Bradenton to Cape Coral, from the new to the experienced, play in the league, according to Cavin. League play continues throughout the year with different seasons.
“You’re going to teach people to try to think about, ‘If the ball comes, what am I going to do with it?’” Alexander said. “You’re beginning with some players, and others you don’t even need to coach.”
Alexander said team chemistry starts materializing after three games. Wednesday, there were “four girls I don’t even know who I never seen before,” she said. “There will be a new strategy and you start playing, putting people in different places until you find out what’s best for the team. Just because you have someone in your outfield, you may find out that they could be your best shortstop. You may need them in your outfield for the better of the team sometimes. You don’t put them where they’re the best, you put them where the team needs them the best. Finding out where they fit defensively and in the lineup is kind of like shooting from the hip.”
Alexander said the teams do not participate in drills because not everybody comes to practice.
“The main thing is, it’s not supposed to be for everyone to come out and win,” she said. “It’s for players who haven’t played in a long time or players who want to learn to play, come out here to have some fun and get some exercise.”
For more information, call 941-661-4555.