‘Churches find friendly rivalries on the playing field’ | NevadaAppeal.com

‘Churches find friendly rivalries on the playing field’

No swearing or drinking is allowed.

Though a hot dog and beer may be synonymous with baseball and softball, alcohol’s not allowed while the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department’s church league is under way.

Playing at Centennial Park through the recreation department, the co-ed slow-pitch softball league has been active for about 10 years.

“The league started with four teams,” said Joel Dunn, recreation supervisor for the department.

“Since then, we’ve been at six to eight teams every year. When I took over, the one thing I wanted to emphasize was more of a family atmosphere at the park. I think the church co-ed league brings it.”

Dunn said he tries to keep the competitive nature out of the league, emphasizing instead camaraderie, fun and fellowship.

“The whole idea is to have congregation members play on the team. And they are to submit a roster. There is the possibility a couple of the churches may be going outside their congregation to build up the roster.”

On June 12, Calvary Chapel Carson City Christian Fellowship played First United Methodist Church. Calvary Chapel had a full roster of players; the Methodist team was just able to field players for competition.

“It’s like that for this league,” Dunn said. “They may have a roster of 24 to 30 players because not everyone wants to commit to play every week. They have vacations, school, etc. One week, they’ll have a full roster; the next week, they may not.”

Before the first pitch is thrown, Calvary Chapel players gather in the dugout to pray. They encourage each other and the opposing team’s members.

Cathi Schwarz, 30, has played with Calvary Chapel for three years as a catcher.

“This is the first (softball) league I’ve played in,” Schwarz said. “There’s a difference in the attitude of Christian players. I feel it’s for the better.”

She said players and teams get along better.

“They’re closer to me than my own family. They’re very nice people.

“I enjoy prayer before the game and with the other team after the game. I definitely feel I’m better focused for the game with prayer.”

Calvary Chapel coach Chuck Molito said the softball league helps build and strengthen the church.

“It’s provided that for me,” Molito said. “The whole idea is to build up our ideals. What better avenue than a setting at the park.”

Molito said they have an ice cream or rootbeer float social after the game.

“It’s just a fun atmosphere,” Molito said.

League rules say there must be five women and five men on the team. Four women must be on the field (defensively) at all times to play.

Allan Catellier, who also plays with Calvary Chapel, said he prefers to play in the church co-ed league.

“It’s better for me,” Catellier said. “You’re with Christian people. Instead of being told off by a player from another team, you’re encouraged by them.

“We come out to have fun — and we have fun.”

The Rev. Ken Haskins of First Christian Church has played since the league began. He helps coach third base. The church has won the championship the last four or five years, and was a co-champion last year with Calvary Chapel.

“We’re tied again this year,” Haskins said. “It will probably come down to the same two teams his year. But it’s a lot of fun. I really enjoy it.”

He said the team meets in the dugout to pray before the game.

“I believe it shows some unity and good witness for the community. After the game, both teams meet in the infield, join hands, and hold prayer to conclude the game.”

Haskins said Dunn does a good job of getting things done on the ballfield.

“No alcohol and no foul language. Joel tries to keep these things under control to have as much of a family atmosphere as possible. He maintains good order and a family environment.”

Dunn said the city also offers a dealership league. It plays Sundays and is open to all employees of local auto dealerships.

“I work with the teams and try to make up rules they want to play by,” Dunn said. “There’s a lot of things they can do to make it what they want it to be. We’ll set parameters — something everybody is comfortable with.”

Calvary Chapel defeated First United Methodist Church 16-10 June 12. First Christian Church defeated Hilltop Community Church 31-13. As of Wednesday, Calvary Chapel and First Christian Church are tied for first place with a record of 5-0.