Staying active later in life is one thing. Keeping up with Connie Wormington is a whole other adventure.
The Kennewick woman, who turns 70 next month, is a grandmother of 12 and a businesswoman three times over. She can put together a floral arrangement that will melt your heart.
But she’s just as likely to be turning a double play or smack home run on the softball field.
“It’s social and it’s fun,” she said. “It’s for people of all walks of life. People just need to get active.”
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But Wormington isn’t just a recreational weekender. She has a national reputation — a ringer in demand by teams from across the country. She returned to the Tri-Cities in June after playing for a championship team at the 17th annual WBSC Senior World Cup in Roanoke, Va.
“We had players from 11 different states,” Wormington said of her team, Chalk Line. “I had a good time.”
Her love of softball goes back more than 50 years, and it was fostered while watching her mother, Arlene Werner.
“My mom was playing in the 1940s,” said Wormington, who owns Just Roses, Just Storage and Columbia Wholesale with her husband Sandy. “I remember sitting on a blanket watching her play.
“I have played for 55 years.”
Wormington grew up in Nebraska, playing softball in high school and one year at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her college career stopped there.
“I got a really good job at the phone company and I liked it,” she said.
Her recent run of national exposure started last fall when she caught the eye of a team from the Seattle area, the Wet Socks. A slick-fielding middle infielder with a quick bat, she was asked to join the Socks for the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
More than 11,000 athletes from 50 countries participated in the games, which are akin to the Senior Olympics.
She and the Wet Socks won bronze in 65-and-over Division 2.
“They saw me play in Spokane one time,” Wormington said of the Wet Socks. “It was a lot of fun playing with them.”
Other teams caught a glimpse of Wormington on the field in Utah, and invitations to join their teams for upcoming events started coming in.
She played with the Las Vegas Neons at a tournament in Palm Springs in January, where they finished third. The Neons also placed second at a tournament in Mesquite, Calif.
Wormington then joined Chalk Line for the championship in the Senior World Cup.
The Fun Bunch was the next stop. They won the Softball Smash in Prescott, Ariz., where Wormington hit an inside-the-park grand slam. They also won a gold medal at a tournament in St. Louis.
“Half of our team is from the East Coast and others from the south,” she said. “I am the only one from Washington that plays on the team. I have to go there because there is nothing here. We have all walks of life, and I mesh with them really well.”
Wormington also likes the Fun Bunch coach, Peggy O’Neill, who is 72. “She knows the game and the rules.”
Wormington will stick with the Fun Bunch — which is on a 16-game win streak — when she returns to the Huntsman World Senior Games in October. They will compete in the 70-plus division.
She also will play for the Wet Socks in the 60 and 65-plus divisions.
Locally, Wormington plays in a co-ed league. There used to be a women’s senior league, and it lowered the age limit to 40 to entice more players to join them, but it never panned out.
“Our Just Roses team has seven women and six men,” she said. “Our women are as good as the men.”