Come On Out and Play!
February 2022 Issue
by Edwina Hoyle
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography
“Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine! Softball is amazing that way as a sport. Everyone on the field has a slightly different ability that makes them perfect for their position.”
— Jennie Finch, Olympic Gold Medal Winner
Sometimes girls just want to have fun! Jean Heyduck is at that point in her life—at the crossroad between work and play, and she is determined to play. Jean’s last official day of work was December 31, 2021. She retired from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry where she was vice president of marketing since 2012. She worked hard, and now it’s her time to play hard—and her goal is to have fun. She’s golfing, playing pickleball, taking tennis lessons and going back to her favorite sport: softball.
There’s a new game in town, and Jean is yelling about it from the rooftops. The Senior Softball League is only one year old, and Jean is excited and having a blast, despite being the only woman on her team last year. The league is for anyone 50 or better, and Jean would love to have other women join.
If the thought of donning a glove, throwing a softball, or making the game-winning hit brings back good memories, let the nostalgia open your mind to fun possibilities.
Jean hails from the Chicago area and started playing girls’ softball at age 7. She played every summer all the way through high school. It was fun then, and it’s fun now, whether pitching, hitting, or cheering on her teammates; Jean loves softball!
Her first job after college was at Allstate in Illinois. There were 5,000 employees and the company believed in taking care of them with a few perks. Allstate had their own huge fields for softball. “So after work, we just went across the street to play. There were several leagues,” Jean said.
Then life kind of got in the way—marriage, kids, work…
Last year Jean learned about the Senior Softball league. She said she really worried if she could still play. “I got my glove and ball out just to see if they were dry and brittle. I hadn’t played in 30 years, but they were okay. So I went to a practice session. I was the only woman there, but I kept up with the guys, and the funny thing was that I wasn’t the worst one out there,” she laughed. “I didn’t care, I was going to play.”
She said the guys had played together, knew each other and already had camaraderie, but they wholeheartedly welcomed her. “They were great and always cheered me on. Their wives would come to the games and they really cheered me on! They even brought noisemakers sometimes. They were very accepting. We’re all 50 and over, so it’s not a big deal like when we were young. We’ve all lived our lives, and it’s just fun to go out there and play.” Jean added that in a senior league, everyone has gotten slower, or had surgeries, and it’s all part of life.
“Softball is all about teamwork because you can’t win a game alone. It’s a great way to build friendships,” Jean said. For her, redemption is the best word to symbolize softball. In the first play of a game last year, she made a massive error and felt horrible. But she also made the last hit that won the game. “I messed up, but I still redeemed myself. If you persevere, you can turn things around. It’s redemption. But it’s also teamwork. We had a fast runner, a good coach and a good hit.”
The league, which is organized through Beaufort County Parks and Recreation Administration, will hold conditioning/practice/scrimmages starting on or about February 19 to enable current players to stay active and to allow new players to meet current players, get a feel for the rules of senior softball and understand how the league is run. Jean encourages you to come check it out and play ball!
Working to give: Jean and her husband, Chris Trotz, both worked in non-profit organizations. Jean just retired from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Chris was the president/CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry and retired in mid-January.
Grand Covid baby: Jean’s first grandchild, Colton, was born in May, 2020, but due to Covid, he was 10 months old when she finally got to hold him for the first time.
More to come: Her second grandchild is due this month!
Go play: Join the senior softball league or check out all the adult sports at www.bcscrec.com/adultsports or call 843-255-6710 for more information.