“This is the second year we’ve held the tournament over the Fourth of July weekend. In the past it was always held over Memorial Day weekend, but last year it worked really well and we’ll be the only tournament going on in the southeast region over the Fourth of July,” says Kyle Miller, co-director of the tournament with Rick “Kitchen” McCracken.
Forty teams are registered to play in the weekend-long tournament, including many from Atlanta. But teams from across the Southeast will also converge on Atlanta for some softball action.
Big Peach Softball Tournament
“Atlanta is a draw because of its nightlife options. It brings teams and players together for softball and it also brings the nightlife,” Miller says.
Miller, who plays outfield for the HSL HitMob team, says the only thing organizers are really worried about is the Georgia heat. Temperatures can get up into the 90s in July (they’ve already reached these temperatures in June) and when you combine heat with running and standing in the sun, health is an issue.
“We’ll have plenty of water on hand for players to stay hydrated,” he says.
The tournament begins with a bang with a registration and welcome party at Jungle on Friday, July 2.
New this year will be a talent show for teams to compete in at the welcome party.
Oh, and there will also be an underwear contest as well.
But first, let’s talk about the talent show.
Teams or individuals are encouraged to “juggle, ‘Glee it up’ and sing your heart out, drop it like it’s hot, or ‘lip sync for your life,’” according to the Big Peach website. But most importantly, organizers say, “Don’t fuck it up.”
And then, for the underwear contest, all men are invited to show their, ahem, bats and balls.
All men are welcome, from slender and smooth to muscular and hirsute, to don some sexy underwear and “do a little shake” for 30 seconds to a song of their choice, Miller says.
There will be judges for the competitions who will make the choice of who is best. The winner of the talent contest will win free entry for his or her team into next year’s Big Peach Softball Tournament, a prize worth close to $400.
The winner of the underwear contest, in addition to winning many admirers, will also receive a prize package that includes gift certificates from all around the city for food, drinks and shopping.
There is an after-party to the welcome party at Heretic Friday night and on Saturday the host bar is slated to be Blake’s on the Park. After all the games have been played, the closing party will be at Burkhart’s Pub on Sunday.
The tournament itself includes teams in three divisions — B, C and D. The B division has eight teams competing, the C division has 15 teams competing and the D division has 17 teams competing.
This year the tournament actually turned away teams to ensure all games could be played at one field, the Southside Softball Park, and players will be able to root for each other and other teams from their hometowns, Miller says.
“Softball is great for networking,” he adds. “You find many teams that stick together — they hang out together when they’re not playing. It’s sort of a community within a community. And it’s a tremendous outlet for having fun while also being competitive.”
Top photo: The Hotlanta Softball League hosts its annual Big Peach Softball Tournament, combining fun and competition over the Fourth of July weekend. (courtesy ProjectQAtlanta.com)