Softball Tournament in Pekin is Heating Up

By Nick Perreault

July 1, 2011 Updated Jul 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM CDT

Whether they were planning on playing or sitting and watching...hundreds who attended this years National Softball Association Tournament in Pekin where forced to bear the heat. Some brought their own tents, while others stayed with the traditional hiding under an awning.

"My wife decided that she was going to buy one of these things a couple years ago," says East Peoria resident Bill McWhirter.Bill McWhirter decided to go with an an umbrella, a very large umbrella.McWhirter said, "I kind of made fun of her when she bought it because I always point at people like that and say sakes can't they just face up...but now I like it...it just makes it much more fun to come her and watch the kids."

Though it's been difficult for the fans to stay cool today it's not going to keep the players and fans from playing in this years tournament. Jeffrey Tibbetts, assistant coach of the Pekin Lil Lettes, said, "No we are playing, we're playing so yeah, their prepared...I think they will be fine, I just told the girls to drink plenty of water and if they feel a little rough, we will just bring somebody else in."

For Erin Flairty, she says she isn't worried about the heat, but the wind. "the wind makes it really hard because when you hit it, it's going to go another direction, not straight" said Erin Flairty, a Pekin Lil Lettes Member. And for Flairty quitting isn't an option, she said, "Is this something where you quit and don't play anymore....this is my life."

Bottom line is, both the players and fans say, the heat is irrelevant. They're out here for the love of the game, as McWhirter said, "As long as I've got my health and I can get out and support her, I am going to do that, I think it's very important."

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