Bennington, V.T. (NEWS10) — There’s nothing like grabbing a few friends and setting up a wiffleball game in the backyard on a summer day, but the Golden Stick Wiffleball League takes things to a whole new level.
“It’s growing,” Rob Mix, the Vermont region director of the Golden Stick Wiffleball League said. “It’s a growing sport. People come here every day and they’re like this is phenomenal.”
For Mix, a trip to Boston two decades ago sparked a newfound love. The Vermont resident got in on a golden stick wiffleball league and immediately set to bring it home.
“I started 19 years ago we did the southern Vermont wiffleball league in the back of my brother’s and mother’s house,” Mix said. “We had one field when we started we had four teams. The following year we had nine. Year after that we had 16.”
Mix eventually got the league affiliated with Golden Stick, and now teams from Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts compete all season to qualify for the national championship in Staten Island in late August. And get this: there’s cash prizes for the winners.
“This is the closest feeling you’ll have to a professional sport is to play in this league,” Mix said.
“Our motto is a backyard game taken way too far,” Athony D’Auria, the New York region director said. “And now like Rob was saying we play for some big money. There’s a lot of pride on the line and yeah it’s great.”
Golden Stick welcomes players of all ages and skill levels to grab a bat and a ball.
“We’ve got guys in our league in their late 60s and they’ve been playing competitive wiffleball since the late 80s and early 90s and they’re thrilled we can offer something that’s close to home for them now,” D’Auria said.
“I hope that I’m in their kind of shape when I’m 60 but I don’t know about that,” D’Auria said. “Those guys are in great shape.”
Before you roll your eyes thinking how hard can a little wiffleball be, just know they get players from all over the country to Staten Island for the championship.
“I know people are like oh wiffleball how competitive or how athletic can these guys be we’ve got a lot of former college players and guys who’ve been playing for a long time and they’re very agile,” D’Auria said.
“You can’t be some beer league softball guy coming out and playing even though a lot of us happen to look like that.”