The 41st Chance Crawford Benefit Softball Tournament takes place this weekend, April 22-24, throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge region. The highly anticipated charitable tournament is a regional effort put on by the cities of Salem and Roanoke and the counties of Roanoke and Botetourt. Entries have increased to pre-pandemic levels for this year’s tournament with 168 teams from eight different states set to compete.
In 2020, the tournament was cancelled for the first time in its history, but in 2021 it bounced back and celebrated its 40th year. In those four decades, the tournament has taken in nearly $1 million, and put that money right back in the hands of individuals with health problems, as well as deserving college students who need financial assistance. These funds are also used to help support youth sports throughout the greater Roanoke Valley.
In addition, the tournament provides a welcome boost to the local economy. Last year, more than 3,500 players, coaches, umpires, and officials spent a total of 1,610 hotel room nights in the valley. Hotels and motels in Salem, Roanoke and Roanoke County benefited, with participants staying in over 30 different establishments.
Games are scheduled for the James I. Moyer Sports Complex - the tournament headquarters, the Botetourt Sports Complex and fields at the Salem Civic Center, Arnold R. Burton, Whispering Pines, Wasena Park, Huff Lane, Norwich Field and Oakey’s Field. This year’s event will feature the following divisions - Men’s Upper, Men’s D, Men’s E, Men’s Recreation, Men’s 40-plus, Women’s Division and Coed.
The Chance Crawford Softball Tournament began in the spring of 1981 to help a young Salem High School quarterback, Chance Crawford, who suffered a spinal cord injury during one of his football games. The purpose of the original event was to raise money to help Chance and his family with the expenses of his education, physical therapy and other medical needs due to his injury.
After Chance graduated from college, he was elected Clerk of Court for the City of Salem and the Chance Crawford Tournament Committee decided to continue the tournament in his honor, but use the proceeds from the tournament to help those in need in the community with their own medical and education expenses.
For more information, please call Salem Parks and Recreation at (540) 375-3057 or contact the Tournament Director Scott Scharnus at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit the Chance Crawford Tournament website at www.chancecrawford.org and check out the tourney on facebook at www.facebook.com/chancecrawfordsoftballtournament