It will be huge. Big. Gargantuan. Giant. And a lot of fun.
The subject of those adjectives is the national Bobby Sox softball tournament coming to Madera next week.
Starting July 26 and going through July 29, 42 girls softball teams from throughout California and Hawaii will converge on Madera, packing its hotels and restaurants, along with its five Lions Town and Country Park ballfields, where the tournament games will be played.
Maderans Phil and Debbie Magos, who have been eating, breathing and selling the Bobby Sox tournament the past year, believe 1,500 to 2,000 people will be here for that long weekend. The numbers include 12 players per team, managers and other team officials, and family members who want to see their daughters, granddaughters, nieces and pals play.
Bobby Sox is a recreational league, said Phil.
“Everybody gets to play,” he said.
Madera is a serious Bobby Sox city. It will field six teams in the tournament, all of which have won district championships.
Teams are categorized by ages, starting with 6 years old and under, up to 18 years and under, Phil said.
Phil and Debbie have been trying a long time to get the Bobby Sox national tourney here.
“We’ve traveled for years, up and down California to Bobby Sox games,” Debbie said, “and Madera is in the top three of the cities in the state for quality of playing fields.” She said she knew Madera could host a great tournament, but they got turned down a lot before they finally heard the word “yes.”
Not only did Phil and Debbie have to sell the Bobby Sox organization on playing the tournament in Madera, they had to sell local officials on it, as well.
“We had to work hard to get fees waived, so we could afford to do this,” Debbie said. “I appeared before the City Council and the Board of Supervisors. It took a lot of persuading. But it will be good for the city. Every hotel room in Madera is booked solid for that weekend. We are putting people in Chowchilla.”
This will show locals the benefits of having the city host local sports events, as was suggested by officials in a recent series on this page about economic development.
Not only do we have ballfields, we have soccer fields, we have a state-of-the-art skate park, all of which could be serious draws for youth and amateur adult sports tournaments.
Debbie and Phil believe many of those who visit here for the tournament will take advantage of the chance to go to Yosemite National Park or to the Chukchansi Casino, not to mention local restaurants, local wineries, the Fossil Discovery Center and other attractions. And why not?
Debbie and Phil, who have been in Bobby Sox some 20 years, since their daughter Megan played, are showing us how well we can do with effort and faith in our home town.
They deserve a big tip of the old softball cap for their efforts.