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June 08, 1990 - Image 93

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-06-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


he crack of the bat?
Often. Peanuts and
popcorn? Never —
though occasionally
one finds a water bottle, a
thermos of coffee or a can of
The roar of the crowd?
Forget it. Observers at
Detroit Jewish singles soft-
ball games — an occasional
biker, a tired or injured
player, a player's child — are
few, but the players
themselves keep the noise
level up, cheering hits and
disputing umpires' calls.
This summer, Jewish
singles arise early Sunday
mornings and head for
Catalpa Field in Southfield
for 9:30 a.m. contests.
Leanie Gunsberg, singles
director at the Jewish Com-
munity Center, says this
singles-sports mix is about
seven years old, but others
double that figure.
Many of the players aren't
experts, or even athletes.
Wearing grubby clothes and
baseball caps touting favorite
teams, they come to play the
game, to meet other singles in
a casual, non-threatening set-
ting, to exercise and to have
a place to go on Sunday mor-
nings, when many other
Detroiters are with their
"Softball makes you feel
like a kid again," says Rob
Gaber, a long-time player
from Detroit.
Caren Kline not only enjoys
playing the game, but met
her fiance, Stuart Vinsky,
while playing singles softball
last summer. Neither had
participated before then.
"Softball has been very good
to me," Kline says. The couple
plans to be married in
Interestingly, they had liv-
ed in the same apartment
building in Southfield for
several years, but didn't meet
until softball. Vinsky had
seen Kline, a curly-haired
nurse, at an apartment com-
plex social, but was too shy to
speak to her. Softball closed
the gap for him and Caren
quickly became the "resident-
expert" first-aid adviser for
the players.
Vinsky admits he'd gone to
singles softball to meet people
— a relationship with a
woman had just ended. Kline
went "because I like softball.
I didn't go to meet anybody or
anything. But Stuart and I
wouldn't have started dating
if it weren't for softball.
"Softball is the best place to
meet people because it's a
natural setting," she says. "If
you go to a singles dance,
everybody gets all dressed up
and fake-like. At softball,
you're all scummy."


Vinsky and Kline met on the field last summer.

All In the Game

Members of the Co-Ed Softball
League find love and diamonds at
the old

Kline had tried other ways
to meet Jewish singles. "I
placed 'People Connector' ads
in The Jewish News. I got
responses, but found no one
special. I have no problem
talking about our 'love con-
nection,' because I'm proud of


Special to The Jewish News

Barbara Foley and Gary
Berman also met for the first
time on the field and are plan-
ning to wed in November.
Foley, a graduate student in
clinical psychology, says, "Ac-
tually, I went to softball to
make more friends, not
necessarily to meet men."

Never before having played
softball, Foley nevertheless
learned. She advises, "If you
go to softball just to have fun,
it can make all the difference
in the world. Gary and our
relationship were the last
things I expected to find on
the softball field."
Berman had read about the
group in The Jewish News,
and "figured it would be a
good way to meet a bunch of
people in a casual setting, do-
ing something I like to do."
"Go with an open mind,"
urges Foley, "to make friends
and to play ball. You won't be
disappointed. There's a
tremendously wide variety of
people there."
"Take a chance," Gary says.
"Good things can happen
when you least expect them."
The every-Sunday soft-
bailers, who usually eat after
the game somewhere in
Southfield, pay per season for
materials. And captains and
teams are chosen weekly.
Players exchange tips on
everything from fielding
skills and batting stances to
white-water rafting and
which restaurants to try in
Rivalries and alliances
abound. Vinsky shifts the
outfield to the right when
Kline, a lefty, is at the plate.
And Kline, a first-baseman,
always tries especially hard to
tag out the fleet-footed
Barry Ducher, an ardent
Republican, usually hollers
"Bush in 92!" when he's up to
bat. The Democrats vocifer-
ously protest and try harder
to catch his left-field drives.
There's one exception to the
"singles-only" membership:
an "old-married" couple con-
tinues to play with the group
on Sundays.
Debbie Soverinsky, a Wayne
State graduate education stu-
dent, started playing in the
summer of 1984. "Believe it
or not," she says, "I was
reading the 'personals' in
the Detroit Free Press and at
the end of the column was an
ad for the Jewish singles soft-
ball. I had always loved
baseball, although I hadn't
played much. This was my big
chance to play."
Two summers later,
Soverinsky met David Kraus
on the field. He had moved to
Detroit eight months before.
They started dating six weeks
after they met and married in
July, 1988.
"I can safely say that when
I started playing softball, I
didn't think I was ever going
to get married," says Soverin-
sky. "And I certainly didn't
think that I was going to
marry someone I met at soft-
ball!" ❑



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