When Red Hook resident Christina Moir and her friend Trish Whitman started what would become the Northern Dutchess Women’s Softball League in 2001, they could barely field a team.
The league began with nine women, and they would play weekly scrimmages. “We didn’t even really play. We had practices, playing three-on-three games, basically, for a couple hours once in awhile,” Moir told The Observer.
Back in the day, said Moir, there were barely any athletic outlets for women in Red Hook and Rhinebeck. “I remember I was about 25, and there was nothing. There were men’s softball leagues and the kids’ leagues, but there was literally close to nothing for women,” she said.
After slowly building in popularity over the years, the league experienced a boom in 2008, attracting enough players to field 10 teams and stand on its own as a legitimate league. Moir said the league’s expansion forced them out of Red Hook’s Recreation Park, which was strapped for field availability because of several pre-existing leagues jockeying play time, and onto fields in Tivoli, Milan, and Rhinebeck. The league plays now, primarily, on the Stone Church Road fields in Rhinebeck.
The NDWSL is still accepting applications from potential players for the 2013 season. The season will begin on May 20 with a field of eight to 10 teams. There is a $50 registration fee that goes toward acquiring necessary equipment for teams. And the NDWSL will be expanding to include a separate over-30 league in 2014, per registration.
Moir said that the league is open to players of all skill levels and ages. “We’ve got players ranging in age from 18 to 50,” said Moir, “And lots of the players are mothers. So if they bring the kids along, they can play in the field behind the backstop. Sometimes players even take turns watching the kids… It’s honestly not uncommon to hear the left-fielder [calling] to her kids.”