Field of Dreams
Athletes have a decision to make when their dreams of becoming professionals start to look bleak. Some become the annoying intern who cannot stop talking about the touchdown they scored in their high school homecoming game, some throw on spandex and join the WWE, and others join a much more important team.
Public Safety is littered with former athletes who miss the camaraderie and competitive fire that sports bring. Now unlike most of us who join a local “beer league” and measure who can hit the furthest dinger, sworn Law Enforcement Officers can join one of best “hidden gems” in the sports world, the Police Softball League.
The Police Softball League is nothing (at least not they would admit) like a traditional ‘beer league’ as the sport has continuously grown in popularity over the last decade. From coverage on ESPN to an international World Series in Las Vegas, the sport continues to grow.
“Teams come from across the U.S and Canada,” says current Police Officer and Police Softball member, Craig Fairbanks, “There are literally thousands of cops at the event.”
Not to be confused, this isn’t Paul Blart down at the local field, the talent level at these tournaments is off the charts.
“The talent level is amazing,” says Fairbanks, “There are many ex college and pro athletes playing Police Softball. There is an ex Indianapolis Colts Safety that played for a team in Southern California.”
Fairbanks himself is no stranger to higher-level athletics; the now, California-based officer is a former draft pick of the Houston Astros. Although choosing to go to college, where a shoulder injury would later end his career, Fairbanks’ 1988 draft class included Dave Silvestri, Kenny Lofton, and Luis Gonzalez (yeah that Luis Gonzalez).
“I had surgery for an impingement syndrome and the velocity went away,” reflects Fairbanks, “It was hilarious looking back on it, the first time I pitched after surgery was a fall game against The University of California Santa Cruz club team, and for some reason the were about 10 scouts there who sat doing nothing until I came in to throw an inning. They all got up, pulled out their radar guns, saw three pitches and put their guns away and left.”
After later choosing a career in Law Enforcement, Fairbanks found Police Softball. Having started as a small local activity the organization has grown immensely with tournaments nearly every weekend, a Hall of Fame, and an ever growing online community.
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