The 37th annual Chance Crawford Benefit Softball Tournament takes place this weekend, April 21-23, throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge region. The highly successful 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 for this year’s tournament with 145 teams from nine different states set to compete.
Games will be played at 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 B Open, Men’s C, Men’s D, Men’s E, Men’s Recreation and a Women’s Division.
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 a football game. 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.
In 36 years, the tournament has garnered over $800,000, and put that money 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.