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July 4th softball game lives on despite field mishap

On July 3, one day before Longfellow's annual 4th of July softball game, the Friends of the Traditional Fourth were set to play on Field No. 3 at Cedar Lane Park. Since 1971 the game had always been played on the same field off of Rivendell Road, but that field is now occupied by the Columbia Dog Park.

The Friends paid $100 for a permit to use the new field at Cedar Lane Park, and Barbara Russell sent out an email telling people where the game would be played.

However, Russell was informed early on July 4 that Cedar Lane Park Fields 1, 2 and 3 were closed. I was told by a Rec and Parks official that Hurricane Arthur was not the cause of the field closures.

For more than 40 years, Longfellow has enjoyed a Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m., followed by the annual softball game two hours later. That was the tradition. This year, word of the field closure spread quickly during the parade and some people were really torked.

Enter county council member Mary Kay Sigaty and chairman of the school board Ellen Giles, who attended the parade and managed to secure a different field quickly so that the game could go on as usual.

The reason for the closure? It was clearly a mix-up. There was a reduced workforce that day at Rec and Parks and somewhere along the line, somebody blew it. Once again, thanks to Mary Kay and Ellen for the quick work to keep the tradition alive.

The Eliots Oak Nuts scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning and three more in the seventh to win the 43rd annual game, 9-2.

The Hesperus Wrecks had tied the game after two innings at 2-2, but failed to score the rest of the way. In the fifth, Mike Uhl tripled in two runs for the Nuts, and singles by Colin Quinn and Brian Donnelly scored two more to run the score to 6-2. In the seventh, Joe Pickens, Joey Pickens and Jimmy Sheehan ended any hope of a Hesperus rally when Joe singled and came in on son Joey's blast. Sheehan followed with another home run for the final score.

Kidz Tri is back

The Columbia Kidz Triathlon will be held July 21 in Hickory Ridge. It is important for parents to make sure that their children have their bikes and helmets checked for safety at no charge at Princeton Sports on Little Patuxent Parkway, the race's official bike support shop, prior to race day.

Now, one piece of advice for parents: don't scream at your kid while he or she is participating. I have seen parents run alongside their child screaming at the top of their lungs to make the child go faster. Believe me, screaming does not make anybody go faster. Encourage your child. Be there and support them and let them enjoy the experience.

Columbia Junior Open

The 34th Columbia Junior Open tennis tournament is scheduled for July 14-16 at the Wilde Lake Tennis Club. The event is for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18.

Players from all around Maryland, as well as the District of Columbia and Virginia, are expected to attend.

Ken Knouse will once again direct the tournament, with support from Harry Chu and Jim Lawson.

The Peter Finck Sportsmanship Award will be presented to one boy and one girl who best represent the ideals that the late Peter Finck established during his illustrious tennis career here.

Soccer on the rise

The sport of soccer received two boosts over the past few weeks. The first came from the World Cup and the performance of the U.S. team in Brazil. The television ratings show that a lot of Americans were watching.

The second major boost came from conservative author Ann Coulter, who obviously hates the sport. Coulter claims that viewing the sport somehow reflects the moral decay of the country. Huh?

Now if her comments aren't a boost for the sport, I don't know what is.

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