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Tufts League Softball gives faculty, staff and students a relaxed and fun opportunity to go beyond their own departments and get to know others in the Tufts family.
Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.23.09] For some members of faculty and staff from both the Medford and Boston campuses, work nights in the summer mean one thing - Tufts League Softball.
Tufts League Softball, which has been around for over two decades, brings faculty, staff and students out of their offices and labs and onto the softball field for a one-of-a-kind "getting to know you" experience.
"The league was originally formed to create an opportunity to bring people from different departments together and to see each other in a different atmosphere from the usual day-to-day professional setting," says Keith Maddox, professor of psychology at the Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences and co-commissioner of the league.
"Suddenly it is Denny [Paredes] in a shirt and tie from Student Services as opposed to Denny on the pitchers mound in a t-shirt and shorts," says Sam Sommers, Maddox's fellow commissioner and colleague in the Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences' psychology department. "You find yourself doing double-takes around campus before you realize that you know someone from softball."
Sommers adds, "It gives you a chance to get to know not only some of the members of your own department that you may not see on a day-to-day basis, but also people from other departments across the university who you may not have otherwise met."
The league is made up of 16 teams, with each team playing 10 games per season, followed by playoff games between the two divisions, Medford and Boston.
Having just moved to the Boston area three years ago, Marty LaVigne, a staff assistant in the Office of the Vice Provost, says he joined the Students Services team to meet new people and has been grateful for the opportunities the league has provided.
"There is a type of camaraderie here that I haven't felt since playing sports in high school," LaVigne says. "It is a great way to shake off the joys and sorrows of the work day."
Over the years, Sommers says there have been rivalries and traditions that have grown throughout the league, including barefooted playing by members of Student Services and the adoption of team logos and t-shirts across the league.
"I will begrudgingly admit that the chemistry team has the coolest uniforms, each with a different element from the periodic table on the back," Sommers says. "I remember there was one guy who had "Pb" on the back of his, which is the symbol for lead. I asked him why he chose that and he said it was because he was slow."
"This is one of the few opportunities to get to know the faces of some people we may only talk to over the phone," Maddox says. "I know there are a number of people I have talked to on the phone because they have information I need administratively, so it is nice to be able to put a face with a name."
"I played in the Tufts softball league for the Tufts Telefund/Annual Fund Office more than 20 years ago -- here's a picture. The year was 1986, and we were the league champs. Back then the Computer Science department were the ones to beat, and beat them we did!!"
--David Bortone (A'85)
Interviews and story by Kaitlin Provencher, Web Communications. Video production by Joanie Tobin, University Photography.