Della Mitchell walked on for the world-famous Orange Lionettes, get this, when she was 11 years old. She survived the try outs and a few years on their farm team, the Cubettes, and then at 14 made the team. She played for a couple of national championships and had an incredible experience. And she still plays the game to this day. Her current team, the Colorado Peaches will take the field this year at the Huntsman World Senior Games
Kyle and Lil also chat about all the running opportunities at the Huntsman World Senior Games.
Kyle Case 0:02
Hello and welcome to the world's Senior Games active life. My name is Kyle case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in our studio today is my co pilot lil Baron.
Hey Lil, guess what, what, I'm just gonna keep our tradition. For the last several weeks we have been talking about some of the amazing sports for here, but the husband World Senior Games, and so I just thought, let's just keep going, Yeah, I'm just gonna keep on excited to know so today we're going to talk about something that I feel is near and dear to your heart
Lil Barron 0:49
To my heart?
Kyle Case 0:50
Lil Barron 0:51
Kyle Case 0:55
Now, no. Good guess. Okay, not even close. Okay, running.
Lil Barron 1:00
Kyle Case 1:02
All right. I know that's not really your thing. I run a little bit I don't run a lot.
Lil Barron 1:10
I do yogo, you don't.
Kyle Case 1:12
Well, I started doing yoga.
Lil Barron 1:14
I know you don't like it.
Kyle Case 1:16
No I have not, I don't like running. But here's the thing I like I said I don't want to run but I know a lot of people that do. They love that feeling of getting out there and just letting your mind wander as your body takes over lots of people who kind of consider it, even a form of therapy. Yeah, and they love that runner's high. Right, yeah, and I don't feel any of those. And I you know I don't run much I probably run on a good week I'll probably get 10 miles for the whole week so one day I'll do a 5K and then maybe I'll do a 5k another day. But I know it's good for you, so I do it for that reason I want to exercise I know that running is good for your heart is good for your brain. I do get satisfaction out of pushing myself but on my run days I really have to kind of convince myself to get out there and run right. But the thing is is if you're a runner, and I know there are lots of people that are in love the sport. The Huntsman World Senior Games is the place for runners.
Lil Barron 2:16
Kyle Case 2:17
We have got a million. Well We have lots of opportunities so let's start at the beginning with an event that isn't even ours, but it's still a great event and that is the St George marathon marathon takes place every year the Saturday, right before the game start. And this year that happens to be October 2 This is a very runners friendly fast course, it's won all kinds of awards, it's a very well organized, beautiful run. Not everybody wants to kick off their running week with a marathon. If you do, you can get information and register at stgeorgemarathon.com. Aside from that, the Games does offer a bunch of options for running in and of itself, as you know, on Monday, October 4 We kick the games off with the 10k. And this is not just any 10K. This is the 10k Right now, we run our course right down the middle of the road and Snow Canyon State Park we close out the park, to cars, you have the whole canyon to yourself, and there is no more beautiful course in the world than our 10k Now I know I'm biased, just because I'm biased, that doesn't mean that what they just said si not true. It is a beautiful course. The course is just gorgeous. If the 10K is a little long for you. Don't worry, we've got a distance that is right up your alley. We've got a 5k that is also one of our great events that takes place on November, this Thursday. Thursday, October 7 Yes, it's a nice out and back course that runs right along the Virgin River. Our runners love it. We also offer a half marathon on the same day at the same place. You can't do both, right, though. Okay, you have to choose one or the other because they're both are great options, and if that's not enough running for you. Last year we added trail running, as well. So trail running is new as of, as of 2019 I should say to our list of sports. If the pavement is a little too hard on your knees or your hips, your back whatever we got you covered you can hit the trails, and this race has two available races this, this event has two available races. Our plan is to use the Chuckwalla the trail, as well as the sin trail. These are both what we call self supportive races so in other words, you need to bring your own water bottle, and that keeps it environmentally friendly and cuts down on the waist, the Chuckwalla trail is approximately 7.4 kilometers, and it is scheduled for Wednesday October 6, and the Zen Trail is a bit longer at 12k, and it's scheduled for Saturday October 9, and in that case you can do both. If you want or you can choose one or the other. Either way it works, lots of options for running at the Huntsman World Senior Games, it really is St George and the games. Runners Mecca. So if running is your thing, take advantage of it and register today at seniorgames.net, but you gotta hurry, because Registration closes on September 1 which is just right around the corner. Yes, So there you go running. Okay, today's guest, Lil,
I know I'm so excited
A native of Huntington Beach, California, Della Mitchell became one of the youngest members of the world renowned orange Lionettes women's Fastpitch softball organization, which is based in Orange, California, the Lionettes were the pioneers of women's softball. And most of Della's teammates have been inducted into the ASAE national softball. Currently Della is an anatomy professor with Colorado Community College while playing and assisting coaching as a senior women slowpitch softball team from Lakewood, Colorado, Della, welcome to the show.
Hi, thank you for having me. We're, we're excited to visit with you a little bit more about this groundbreaking softball organization but before we talk about softball, we always have to ask our guests. Do you run Della, are you a runner?
Unknown Speaker 6:18
Della Mitchell 6:21
I used to be. Not anymore.
Kyle Case 6:24
No more. Okay, running, running from home plate the first base, and second,
Della Mitchell 6:30
trying to run from home plate, all the way around.
Kyle Case 6:37
That's great softballs incredible sport one of our favorite sports here at the Huntsman World Senior Games we have, in fact, over 400 registered teams this year, so we're looking forward to the tournament attend. And for the first time ever, we've cracked 100 teams for the women's softball tournament as well so we're excited for this year and again Della to visit with you and learn a little bit more about some of your history with the great sport of softball So enough about running, can we just set that aside for now.
Lil Barron 7:07
Kyle Case 7:13
So we'll set that aside and jump into softball so you've played softball sounds like for a lot of your life. I'm wondering how you got into it. When did you start playing softball and, you know, how did you just kind of jump into it and keep on going with it.
Della Mitchell 7:27
Well I started when I was on a nine year old team. Okay, so I, I was always pretty early, as far as my development. And then I got to the point in Huntington Beach, California area the Southern California area where I wasn't allowed to play anymore because I hit the ball too hard and I threw the ball. They thought I was gonna injure the other girls my age.
Kyle Case 7:56
No so they literally said you can't play anymore.
Della Mitchell 7:59
Right. So my Parents were looking at the paper one day, right around that time. And they saw an article about the Orange Lionettes. And so we went out and saw a game. And they had a fun thing called the cover. Okay. And I ended up, I was 11 years old. The average age was 18 on a team, and I can't I went out for a tryout. I was selected to play on the current team I played two years for them. And then at the age of 14, which was the earliest you could be on the parent team, which was the Lionettes. I was selected by the support team and I played for 3 years.
Kyle Case 8:54
That is incredibly nice. I've got to admit I when I read your bio. I just, you know, I was never met, I would never had a chance to talk, but I just thought okay so she played probably played as a young adult and she had a great experience, Della, you were 11, years old.
Della Mitchell 9:11
I know, I know. The first tryout. I think they wanted to scare me a little bit, yeah. So they put me, warming up throwing, they put me with a swan and that probably threw the ball about 60-70 miles an hour. Just warming up. Yeah. Wow. And in those days, in 69. The gloves did not have much Penny's never been able to feel my hand. After I got that. But I caught every single ball that she threw at me and to six foot and I was probably five foot and she threw out my head. So it was, it was quite a first day
Kyle Case 9:56
I'm telling you in any days, 70 miles an hour is a hard fast battle, even with a padded glove. That is amazing so so this is a tough group of women, right.
Della Mitchell 10:09
Oh yeah, oh yeah it was it was the top. There wasn't any softball that was, you know, it was a top level higher than the than the lioness at that time.
Kyle Case 10:21
Okay, so you're an 11 year old girl, I mean you just a little girl Della you walk out of this field, they're probably thinking to themselves, okay, you know, yeah, let's just, let's get the kid, give her a little shot we'll send her back home, she'd come back in a few years maybe. You surprise them again and
Della Mitchell 10:43
you know I think back at those times. And, you know, and I've also talked to my coach since then, and I said what was it that caught your eye and it was really helpful and really good work ethic, and you know his focus. And these are things that are the foundation. You know, for, for elite athletes elite athletes, because that's what I ended up on the team. We're made up of elite athletes. But at age 11 If you can, if you can have that focus. And that dedication, and motivation. And I did because I went, you know I went after everything that came my way and, and not everybody did
Kyle Case 11:32
Della I've been to enough Little League games to know that 11 year olds, so it's a lot of butterflies and flowers in the outfield so that is incredible. That is incredible,
Lil Barron 11:45
you just described me.
Kyle Case 11:47
So so as an 11 year old here you are making this, this, what you what you call the farm League, the Cubettes. Tell us a little bit about that experiences now is this, for those who don't know it for myself included, is this a team that travels, you know, within the region or within the nation what what what did that season look like for the Cubettes for you as 11 years old.
Della Mitchell 12:10
Well the farm team travelled just within the region. Okay. And, you know, there was I think there was probably about 12 of the team. We played against the local. I think they were one or two A, because in those days they were classified as one two and three A. Okay, the lineups was three, and the other teams went to a was right below, and then one a was, was below that. So we would play the one , two A teams. And it was. No we didn't. We didn't have a whole lot of games as many of the lineups Lynette said over eight games, a season. We had maybe 20. Still our coaches were the same, coaches, as it truly taught me and Carol Spanks who Hall of Famers. They were our coaches, cool, then the idea of the fire team of course any foreign team is to develop players to move up to the parent team,
Kyle Case 13:18
and you were able to do that
Lil Barron 13:20
Della Mitchell 13:25
Kyle Case 13:26
So that is awesome so not only did they not scare you away at 11 but they actually, it sounds like we're able to embrace you and your talent and develop some of your skills, and then bring you up at 14 You said no, that that was the youngest that was even allowed at that time to play on theLionettes is that correct.
Della Mitchell 13:42
Yes, she would have to be 14 by the national tournament, and my birthday is in late August. And so for most horses I was 13. And then I turned 14 at the national tournament. Oh right, right outside the end of the seasons, right.
Kyle Case 13:59
That is amazing. So you're there as a 14 year old, are there other girls that are of that age or most of them older
Della Mitchell 14:07
were the closest one to me was three years older. Okay so they were still junior and senior in high school.
Lil Barron 14:14
Well, you know, kudos to your parents.
Kyle Case 14:18
Lil Barron 14:18
yeah now seeing your talent and finding a place for you. I love that cool is that.
Della Mitchell 14:27
So yeah, they were very supportive, they were at every game of course I couldn't drive
orange and orange it's probably, I don't know 35 t 40 minutes without traffic. Now you're talking Southern California, right so freeway. Yeah, maybe an hour at the most. And then somebody would sit through all the practices. And there were quite a few of those. And then all the games. There were a lot of games. They didn't travel out of state. . Yeah. Yeah, so
Kyle Case 15:09
So then at 14 you go and you're on the line dance, and you're, you're obviously as you said traveling out of state, and a little bit of a bigger geographic area. Did you play as a lionette, across the western United States as an all across the United States, how big was your geographic travel area then.
Della Mitchell 15:29
Well our region, or league was called the Pacific coast league. And we, we played North northern Cal Northern California, Santa Clara, Redwood City, there weren't any teams of our level. Two exhibition games. But literally, there was there was nobody in our link down in Southern California area. We played Eric we went to Arizona. We went to Salt Lake City. And that was about as far east as we went for our league. But the national tournaments, the national tournament that I was a part of the team to go to to attend was in Stratford Connecticut playing against the Brickettes. You know, that's, that's their home field. Yeah, for national tournament, about 16 teams. I think were in the Nationals. And then we went to Tucson to play a national
Kyle Case 16:32
so again so you had a chance to play for a couple of national tournaments. How did you do, how did the, how did the team do.
Della Mitchell 16:41
We took second runner up in the Tucson. And I think fifth in the one in Connecticut. But, you know, this team has a 40 year history, they started in 1935, and then disbanded in 1975, then they went on to form Lionettes, in 1976, and they were pro, that was a pro for two years. Like I said we play an average of the season, but during that fourty year history. The team won nine national titles, represented the United States and the 1970 World Championships in Japan, and took runner up in that championship.
Kyle Case 17:30
So, there's a deep history there and Adela, you got to be a part of that, how cool is that. That's amazing.
Della Mitchell 17:38
Yeah, and I learned so much. I mean, I can imagine, women were my role models. They were at the very top of their game. They were elite female athletes, and they had the qualities, all the qualities associated with that level of athlete. And like you said in the introduction for nine of my team were inducted into a national softball Hall of Fame Oklahoma City so that when people watch the College World Series. That's the Hall of Fame stadium right there. So I was, I was very fortunate to have access to the best coaching and excellent role models at a very young age is amazing.
Kyle Case 18:23
Yeah, it really is, and obviously dela you've been able to kind of carry those lessons, and I'm sure pass those along throughout your career you've coached and you continue to play today. You're still playing.
Della Mitchell 18:37
Right, right, right i i took a bit of time off, I was actually working in corporate America, up to the age of 50. And then I just decided, you know, this is not who I need to do something to make me happy. Something that I always dreamed about doing. And I was coaching softball, I mean I coached different teams that I played on. And then, you know, I decided to go 100% into it so I went back to school and a master's in kinesiology, which is actually a master to kinesiology with an emphasis in softball coaching for Texas Women's University in conjunction with the National FastPitch coach's association was in the first cohort for the first class of their program starting. You know what 13 years ago, coaches at the college level because I wanted to coach college coaches at the college level. They preferred that they have masters. So that's why I went, got my masters and I just started coaching at college, right away.
Kyle Case 19:59
That's awesome. Well, you come in as wealth of experience, which is so cool. I wish we had more time to focus on your coaching because I think there's some great stories there. I do want to talk to us a little bit about senior softball that you're involved in right now, you play on a team currently Correct,
Della Mitchell 20:17
yes. the Colorado peaches. They're in a Lakewood, Colorado, Denver area are our players we have about 40 Plus. Players Ages 15 through 90, we have a 90 year old out there. And it's, It's, it's a great group of women. They, we have, I think, at the Huntsman, we're gonna have five teams.
Kyle Case 20:50
I was gonna say with that many players you'd have the opportunity to break up into different different age groups depending on the tournament here at the husband Wilson your games we offer five year age groups and other tournaments took a little bit differently but I know that the Colorado peaches are very well represented here. And that games, and, and have success when you come.
Della Mitchell 21:13
It's so much fun. These women are so passionate about the sport because a lot of them don't have established softball teams or programs in their area wherever they grew up. So, you know, practice once a week, sometimes there's different divisions that want to practice more coaching I'm not the head coach, but I, and, you know like, I do a lot of hitting instruction, and various, various other things. When they asked me to. So, you know it's something that's just in my blood, and I just love it.
Kyle Case 21:53
Yeah, Well, and that's, you know you, you've nailed it when you turn 50 And you're like, yeah, that happy where I'm at. Oh man, let's do something that I love. What a great opportunity to do, even, even if you're not able to do it professionally, there are opportunities out there at whatever your interests are, dance or whatever it is. I'm glad that you've been able to hold on to your love of softball and carry it with you. And we're excited to have the Colorado Peaches to Games and looking forward to seeing some great softball.
Della Mitchell 22:28
Well I'm excited for St George so I'm excited for the tournament. Oh, that was awesome. We'll have to come and find to Della be great.
So Della we've only got about 30 seconds left. If you were talking to somebody who was on that fence post like you on whether to jump into something they love, or just kind of stay with the status quo, what would you say to that person.
Well, I'd say, you know, you need to be happy to do something you need to do, take a chance and go for it.
Kyle Case 23:05
Great advice. Great advice Stella. Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for sharing that history and like Lil said we're looking forward to, and watching some great softball out there on the softball diamonds.
Della Mitchell 23:18
Hey, thank you very much.
Kyle Case 23:20
Okay, well we'll see you in October.
Della Mitchell 23:22
Kyle Case 23:23
Okay, bye. Bye. So Lil those stories that just the history and I love it when people are able to do something that's never been done before and it's amazing. Listen, we've been talking about this for the past several weeks, I'm gonna just mention it again because it's important registration of course is open. If you're interested in playing softball or any of our other 34, other sports because there's lots to choose from. Now's the time to register you can do that I've seen your games dotnet, but remember that registration does close on September first so let's get out there and make sure that it's done. We have over 10,400, registered athletes. So, again, September 1 is the last day, seniorgames.net is the website and you can register to find out the rules the schedules. We also have our COVID-19 plan there as well. It's worth mentioning that now is the time to register for our volunteers. So, if sports, sports aren't your thing, we still want to have you involved with the games, we need a bunch. It takes about 3000 volunteers to pull this whole party off yes, and there's lots of opportunities, lots of areas you can register, either by the day that is convenient to you or by your interest, as a volunteer, it's very easy to do once again, senior cams dotnet and when you register as a volunteer, you are automatically entered in a drawing for a brand new eBike from charge bike so take advantage of that volunteer.
Unknown Speaker 24:53
Of course, we want to remind you to tune in live next and every Thursday at 5:30pm Mountain Time on AM 1450 or FM 93.1 For the husband World Senior Games active life. We take this live show and turn it into a podcast and you can subscribe to our podcast, anywhere where podcasts are found so check that out. You can also find this in previous shows right on our website at seniorgames.net. Today's inspirational thoughtcomes from the greatest of all time, Muhammad Ali. And he says, don't count the days. Make the days count. Until next Thursday, stay active.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai