A Great Run for the Thompson Sheffield Tournament

May 11, 2017
By Larry Armstrong

1995 Thompson Fellowship Class Team (see larger picture with captions)

The Thompson/Sheffield Coed Softball Tournament was born in the Thompson Fellowship Sunday School Class one Sunday in 1993.

We were looking for a “one-time” fundraiser to help improve our “Fields of Dreams” that back then were pretty rugged and in need of a lot of help. “What if we had a church-wide softball tournament and raise enough money to build a picnic pavilion on the fields?” someone suggested, and we all agreed.

That first tournament drew several teams from various church groups and was a success – both financially and socially. The following year, we dedicated the covered pavilion that currently sits at the fields, and decided to hold the tournament again and and use those proceeds to build some team dugouts.

One year became another, then another, and another. Eventually the fun event had raised enough for dugout covers, improvements to the steep bank next to Rose Field, additional fencing, a BBQ cooker on wheels, and many other projects.

After ten years, Thompson Fellowship Class asked Couples in Christ class to take over the tournament, and they did – with gusto – running it for another 13 years. The tournament was always held on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend.  There was never a rain out, and only one injury more serious than sore muscles or a skinned knee – an amazing run!

Today, there is other funding for the fields, and the tournament has been retired, but not before providing 23 annual Saturdays of fun and (mostly) good sportsmanship. As an unexpected benefit, the tournament began to draw teams and players from outside Mt. Bethel who were introduced to our great church in a different way.

Many thanks to everyone who had a hand in making the TFC/Sheffield tournament a success over the years, whether by playing, umpiring, prepping the fields, selling concessions, sponsoring, printing T-shirts, or just plain spectating. I’m especially going to miss those crispy homemade potato chips!

It was a great run and fitting that the 2016 championship team was our own Thompson Fellowship Sunday School Class.

Larry Armstrong