Harris County Senior Softball League-FUN,FITNESS,FELLOWSHIP: Who We Are

HCSSL: A “Who We Are” Introduction to the League

The Harris County Senior Softball League (HCSSL), in existence since 1981, is a slow-pitch softball league for men and women 50 years of age or older.  You become eligible to play in the year in which you will turn 50.  We play four nights a week (Monday through Thursday), almost year-around, on two fields leased from Harris County in Bayland Park, 6400 Bissonnet Street (just west of Hillcroft), Houston, TX 77074.  HCSSL members handle the maintenance of those playing fields.

Three key things that may be different about HCSSL, as compared with other softball leagues you have known:

(1)   You sign up as an individual, not as a team.  We handle assigning you to a team.

(2)   There are no separate leagues for men’s, women’s, or co-ed play.  Nor are team assignments based on age.  Everyone plays together, with division and team assignments based purely on ability.

(3)   Teams do not retain their membership from year to year, but are re-formed for each season.  This helps assure competitive balance and expands each player’s base of friends, as some of this year’s opponents become next year’s teammates and vice versa.

We are organized into four divisions of play, based on ability.  Players for teams in the top, most-competitive division are selected first, followed by the selection of players for teams in each successive division until all players have been selected.  We form the teams separately for each of the two seasons we play — the summer season runs from April through mid-October, the winter season from November through early March.

In a typical summer season, there are 330 to 350 players on 26 to 28 teams competing in those four divisions (6 to 7 teams each). Our current players’ ages range from 50 to 89.  He is no longer active, but we previously had one member who played through the summer he turned 90.  While division and team assignments are based on ability, it’s not surprising that there is some correlation with age; the average age of players in the four divisions this summer, beginning with the most-competitive division, is 57, 60, 65, and 69.

Prior to selecting teams, we hold tryout sessions for new players in early March for the summer season and late October for the winter.  The purpose is not to select who plays — everyone who registers to play and attends one of those sessions will be placed on a team — but to assess each person’s ability and facilitate getting him/her placed on a team in the appropriate division.  We do have a process for adding additional players later during the season and are happy to do that, but obviously prefer to get as many as possible signed up and assigned to teams at the beginning of each season.

We play three games each night, beginning at 6:30 pm, on each of our two fields.  “United” and “National” division teams play Monday/Wednesday, “American” and “Continental” division teams play Tuesday/Thursday.  Each team is scheduled to play two games per week.  Typically, teams will play 40 to 50 games during the summer season, 20 to 35 games during the winter season.  Games cancelled due to weather (rain and/or cold) are not re-scheduled.

We are affiliated with Senior Softball USA (SSUSA) and play under SSUSA playing rules, with some modifications specifically for HCSSL.  Those modifications are primarily designed to minimize player injuries, maximize playing time on our fields, and facilitate our operation as a league rather than for tournament-type competition.

Current (2014) registration fees are $150 for the summer season when paid before the signup deadline.  The registration form for the current season is always available for download from the 'Summer Registration' page on the league’s website, www.hcssl.org.

If you still have questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact HCSSL’s president at president@hcssl.org.   

Sunday, July 13
Bayland Park Information