Return to Quad Cities – it’s about time
By John Thompson
It’s been 36 years since the “boys of summer” convened in Rock Island, IL. In 1973
the 26th annual ISC World Championship was held in this idyllic corner of Illinois/Iowa
in the heart of America.
The final four combatants included the Las Vegas, NV Raiders, Manny’s of San Bernardino and the Clovis Cowboys, both of California, all turned aside by the champion Lakewood Jets of California.
How much the world has changed…. Vietnam is a distant, but controversial memory.
How much softball has changed… gone are many of the greats of that era – Leroy Zimmerman and Les Haney of Fresno, Virgil Jones of San Pedro, all of the west coast and Clayton Dugger of Waco TX. No longer with us are the founding fathers of this great game – Frank Porth of El Paso, Marvin Castell of Ogden UT and ISC founder, Carrol Forbes of Greeley, CO.
In perspective, many of our modern-day great were in diapers/short pants or not even born the last time that Rock Island hosted the ISC – Jody Eidt, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Gerald Muizelaar, Nick Shailes, Jeff Goolagong, Patrick Shannon, Jarrad Martin, Karl Gollan, Chris Miljavic and there are so many others.
In an interview with Larry Koberg, the Co-Chair of the Host Committee, the planning and implementation of the 62nd edition of the ISC Championship was discussed.
The catalyst organization for the event is the Quad Cities Convention Visitors Bureau collaborating in tandem with the Quad Cities Sports Commission.
The Commission’s mandate is to bring events to the community, which make’s the partnership with the QCCVB a natural. That’s what the hospitality industry is all about - bringing people together, and ensuring comfort while organizing good fun for everyone.
Softball is a natural in this part of the country – an earlier “18 and Under” ASA tournament attracted 120 teams. Other successful events can be as diverse as bowling and walleye fishing.
To ensure success, sponsorship is required. With the cooling of the local, national and world economy, this integral responsibility was a challenge. The two local casinos – the Isle of Capri and Jumers - jumped on board to provide a combination of cash and accommodations, and after a challenging year, the budget for sponsorship was achieved.
The state of the economy also motivated the host committee to establish attractive pricing to encourage fans to fill the stands. With a weekly pass available at $35 ($25 for seniors age 60 and over) and a “roll-back-the-prices” discounted tab of $19.60 for any players who suited up in Quad Cities during the sixties, there’s no better sporting bargain available.
To further encourage fans, the Host Committee negotiated with the ISC for conducive scheduling that would appeal to locals to watch the premier teams in prime time. Local weather conditions can always play havoc with schedules, but the intent was one of fairness for the fans.
Once at the park, the tab for refreshment tent and concession services is priced very fairly, and the best bargain of the sports circuits – parking is free. A busy shuttle service was evident on the weekend when the closest lots were jammed.
To date, Larry notes that “We’re pleased with the crowds, but like any event organizers, we’d always like more.”
Larry’s partner, Joe Taylor is the Co-Chair of the host organization that utilizes approximately 200 volunteers.
After four days of competition, battling some of Mother Nature’s element, the ISC must be pleased with the event to date. Well done Host Committee.