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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A game typically about numbers changes when one man makes sure a specific number – your age – does not come into play.

Phil Rose founded the Wilmington Senior Softball Association. Now his players are honoring him in a big way.

“I played a lot of ball from youngster all the way up,” Rose said. “I know at our age, I’m 83 now, but it’s good exercise, and you meet a lot of nice people.”

Rose may be 83, but his spirit is younger than ever. He founded the Wilmington Senior Softball Association back in 1995. With 200 players now, it’s hard to believe back then there were fewer than a dozen.

“I look back and think, ‘Wow. Maybe I wouldn’t be playing now,'” Rose said.

But that’s not the case. The men lace up their cleats, pick up a bat, throw the ball and make friends.

“Win or lose, it’s about playing,” WSSA player John Bonner said. “We have a group of guys on our team that are 78, 79 and 80. They’re still out playing, so I hope to continue playing with them.”

Soon they’ll all be playing on a field with a score box with Rose’s name on it. Today’s ceremony honored their founder and, more importantly, their friend.

Rose is currently living with cancer, but he does not let that hold him back. He’s not playing softball anymore, but he does manage in the league.


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