By Jeff Labine The Stettler Independent
Although he’s already in his 70s, Stettler’s Fred Bozek doesn’t plan on stopping playing softball any time soon.
In fact, the 74-year-old, who will be celebrating his birthday in November, wants to keep playing ball well into his 90s. He said he can still play with the younger players, although he did admit it is getting a bit tougher.
“I thank the Lord I have good wheels,” he said. “There are a lot of guys who are crippled and can’t run. I got a son who is 51 years old and my daughter is 52 and they can’t believe dad loves to play ball so much. It’s the greatest thing to stay healthy.”
Having started playing softball about 13 years ago, Bozek and his team the Pals won gold at this year’s Huntsman Wold Senior Games in Utah. He said he wasn’t sure why the Pals clicked so well this year but they never lost a game.
That doesn’t mean it was always easy. The Pals were down by two runs at the bottom of the seventh in one game when Bozek stepped up the plate. He said he doesn’t hit home runs but he can get to base when needed. With Bozek on base, everything fell on his teammate Dave Freeman, who was able to hit a home run ensuring the Pals kept their winning streak.
This was the second time Bozek brought home gold and although he was pleased with his win, he said his first gold will always be the most satisfying.
The big reason, he said, is because of the team they went up against. He said the team was sandbagging or deliberately trying to play in a lower skill division.
“Americans are known to sandbag,” he said. “We Canadians are taught to play ball (no matter what) division. You play ball to win. If you lose, be the first one to put your hand out there to shake hands.”
He said the Pals had to take on that team twice before being able to claim the gold, a feat they were able to achieve.