Senior softball player competes in Germany
|Terry Jordan displays the memorabilia he receieved as MVP of the USA senior softball team that competed in Germany last month. While he was away in Germany, his kids ordered a custom-made glove for him which he had designed on the internet. The gift was to congratulate Jordan for his many accomplishments in the sports of baseball and softball.|
Ever since he could pick up a bat, Terry Jordan has participated in baseball and softball. In fact, Jordan has competed in baseball, fast pitch softball and slow pitch softball for the past 52 years.
In these years, Jordan has had the rare experience of playing with many different teams while competing in many different tournaments across the world. Recently, Jordan had the opportunity to compete on one of the two USA senior softball teams in Berlin, Germany. The teams were made up of players from 10 different states in the country, including Utah which Jordan represented himself.
The main purpose of the USA tour to Germany was to promote senior softball which has already became one of the most popular sporting organizations in the country. According to Jordan, the senior softball organization has already surpassed regular softball in numbers, and the figures continue to rise.
The U.S. teams competed last month against one another and several German teams from the local Berlin area in both exhibition and tournament games over the span of five days. During these five days, Jordan played in 12 games in which he batted 47 times with 38 hits for a batting average of 808.
Because Jordan had such a successful performance while in Germany, his teammates voted him MVP of the team. For his accomplishment Jordan received two new DeMarini softballs, one of which was signed by those who participated in the tournament. Jordan was also awarded with an autographed softball from the host team and a beer stein which will each grace the walls of his sports memorabilia filled basement.
The chance to compete in a national event such as this was priceless for Jordan, however the trip had even more personal significance than simply competing for a national team.
When in the Army, Jordan was stationed in Germany. While there, Jordan continued to participate in baseball by playing for the Army team. Jordan spent his 19th and 20th birthday in Germany playing ball. During his trip last month, he celebrated his 60th birthday.
"It brought back a lot of memories visiting Germany. It was special to be able to visit the area, but to be able to play ball just as I had all those years ago, that was even more special," explained a proud Jordan.
During the time he spent in Germany while serving in the Army, Jordan had the chance to play with many different athletes who competed professionally in the United States before being recruited to the military.
"I was the only guy on the team that did not play for a major division ball club. When tryouts began, there were over 500 athletes and by the time final cuts had been made, only 20 of us remained, and I was one of them." Jordan confesses, "it was a thrill for me to play with these guys that were considered professional ball players."
Throughout his life, Jordan has competed against those who were either older or more experienced than himself in the sport, but this did not intimidate him. In fact, Jordan feels that this helped him to gain his carefree attitude toward sports.
"I would play little league ball against older kids because their wasn't enough players for my age division to form a league. Recently I have played on local softball teams who have competed against the younger guys, but we hold our own against them. I finally have the chance to compete against guys my own age now with the senior teams, and I enjoy it," Jordan explained.
Because a senior team is not in existence in Carbon County, Jordan travels each Monday night to Salt Lake where he competes with a senior team. He also travels with a third team to intermountain west tournaments.
"I play to stay active and what a better way to get exercise than to do something that I truly love. I hope to be playing for many years to come. The experience with the senior teams has allowed me to meet many different people from across the country. I just simply love the competition," added Jordan.
The senior softball teams allow athletes from ages 50 and older to compete. The divisions vary in age which is determined by five year increments. Those who are 50-55 compete in a division of their own while those 55-60 play in their own division and so forth.
"Playing with the senior teams has offered me many unique opportunities. I've been invited to travel to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. I have also been invited to play in a tournament in Hawaii with a Houston, Texas team. I don't know if I can play all of these tournaments because of the cost of travel, but I am honored to be invited. Thankfully, I have a supportive wife who has stood by me all these years that I have been playing," commented Jordan.
Over the past 52 years in the sports of baseball and softball, Jordan has developed a philosophy which has allowed him to stay focused on the game.
"I don't worry about what is going on around me. I stay focused on the game and I prepare myself for anything. I will tell myself that the ball is coming right to me every time and that allows me to prepare for action. As long as I give my best effort and I don't try doing what I know I'm not capable of, I can walk away from a game with my head held up high. As long as I do my best and I don't come down on myself, I have succeeded," explained Jordan. This is a simple philosophy to live by however, it is one which many athletes tend to avoid.
The most significant factor in Jordan's game is that he loves competing and he loves the sport. When he is not playing himself, he can be found watching the sport. He also performs maintenance at the College of Eastern Utah's baseball field.
"I have been working on the field for the past two years. I am proud of what I've done out there. It looks like a professional field and I will continue to maintain and improve the facility. I just feel at home when I'm out at a ball park, whether I am playing or working on the grounds," commented Jordan.
One of his biggest accomplishments is constructing a flag pole at the college field. "Nothing makes me feel as good as when they play the national anthem and the flag is waving. All of the players will line up in the outfield and pay tribute to the flag. This makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I have always enjoyed this part of the game, but to have constructed the pole and offered my part in this ceremony makes me proud," concluded Jordan.
Being retired allows Jordan to pursue many of his dreams. He calls himself a full time volunteer and is proud to be a part of a senior softball team. Jordan does not play for the glory or the fame, he plays for the sheer enjoyment and the love of the game.