Annual wiffleball tourney all about good vibes

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At the 24th Annual London Wiffle Ball Tournament, the Merri Mac Park ball fields in London were hopping with youth teams and adults teams vying for titles and to see who could have the most fun.

(Posted Sept. 8, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

On Aug. 13, Merri Mac Park in London beamed with good vibes as hundreds of athletes, young and older, swarmed the grounds for the 24th Annual London Wiffleball Tournament.

A total of 95 teams–63 adult teams and 32 youth teams–participated in the event. Games were mostly four-on-four. The adult teams each played four round-robin games then were seeded for the single-elimination playoffs. The youth teams (15 years old and younger) played three round robin games before heading into playoff action.

The tournament atmosphere is always hopping. Every year, organizer/commissioner Brian Wheeler, with help from family and friends, finds new ways to turn up the hype and the fun. Each team gets a wiffleball card featuring their group photo, logo, and names. Winners receive championship rings. Youths can earn most valuable player awards. Teams and players are interviewed on site.

The Angels, a team out of Cleveland, pulled off a big upset at the London Wiffle Ball Tournament. Heading into the playoffs, they were seeded 39th. They finished as the adult league champions.

“We have uniform contests. People paint their bats and paint their faces. We have a new tournament logo and theme every year. It’s just a whole lot of fun,” Wheeler said.

A 1991 graduate of London High School and a resident of West Jefferson, Wheeler grew up playing wiffleball and competing in tournaments in London. He started the London Wiffleball Tournament in 1999 with 11 teams, and it has grown from there.

“Over 85 percent of the teams come back to the tourney every year, and now we have the second generation playing,” Wheeler said, noting this year saw the most youth teams the tournament has ever had.

“It’s amazing how much fun the teams have out there,” he added. “Everybody wants to win but, at the end of the day, most of the teams are there to be with friends and have a good time. They see the big picture.”

Wheeler appreciates the help and support he receives from family and friends in putting on the tourney. He gave kudos to London Parks and Recreation for their excellent maintenance of the ball fields.

Some of the teams that enter the London Wiffle Ball Tournament go all out with their attire. Here, the Backyardigans show off their new uniforms for the 2023 tourney.

“There are so many pieces to this puzzle. Everyone helps in their own way to make it a big event,” he said. “I’m excited for next year since it will be the 25th anniversary.”

Over the years, the tournament has been held at various locations in and around London. This year marked the third consecutive time it took place at Merri Mac Park. Proceeds benefited Merri Mac Park Miracle, a non-profit group working with the city to make improvements to the park.

To learn more about the tournament, visit https://londonwiffleball.com/.

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