Love of softball keeps Kennewick business owner fit and focused

When Connie Wormington isn’t running one of her three businesses, she can usually be found on the softball field.

A love for the game has helped keep the 69-year-old Kennewick woman fit, healthy and focused over the years.

“It’s the thrill of hitting the ball and making a base hit. It’s tough to get a base hit for a woman. It’s hard to catch a grounder to the gut and throw it. It’s the thrill of doing it and being excited about doing it,” she said.

Her love of the sport — and, she admits, her age — caught the attention of a Washington team bound for the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, last fall.

Wormington said the event is the world senior Olympics. Fifty countries were represented and 11,000 athletes competed.

She joined two teams and played 16 games in two divisions.

She played second base in the 65-and-over division with the Wet Socks, with the team earning a bronze medal.

“At the practices we had in Seattle, when they saw me play, they said, ‘We could use you in the 60-and-over team,’ ” so she also competed with the Women Who Run team at the Utah games.

She’ll be headed to Palm Springs, California, at the end of January to play in a senior tournament with a Las Vegas team who recruited her.

It’s part of her plan to qualify for this year’s Huntsman games.

“I’m in the 70-and-over division now,” said Wormington, who turns 70 in September. “I want to see how competitive I can be in that division.”

Wormington and her husband Sandy own Just Roses Flowers and More flower shops in Kennewick and Pasco, as well as Columbia Wholesale, which supplies flowers to other shops, and Just Storage, a self-storage facility in Kennewick.

The Wormingtons launched Just Roses in 1989, offering a “do it in style” tuxedo delivery of a dozen affordable red roses. Wormington said the shop owns 35 tuxedo suits for its team of drivers. The Kennewick shop also offers a drive-up window.

In 1996, the Wormingtons bought out their former partners.

Customers liked their floral delivery service so much that the company expanded and offered franchise opportunities, and at its heyday, operated 18 shops in the Northwest until the Great Recession took its toll on the business.

Wormington said her shops are already anticipating the Valentine’s Day rush with plans to order 40,000 roses. Then 30,000 more will need to be ordered for Mother’s Day.

Twelve people work between their two stores.

Wormington lives a busy life, but said when she’s playing softball, the rest of the world drops away.

“You’re focused. You don’t think about anything else,” she said. “Softball — it’s a world you’re thrown into it. Coaching, batting or hitting, you just go and it’s total immersion and you don’t think of anything else. It’s how I made it through all these years.”

Wormington’s been playing softball since she was a girl.

“It’s been in my blood since I was 11 years old,” she said. “My mom played softball when she was young and that’s how I got hooked on it.”

She played in high school and then during college in Nebraska.

She serves as vice president of the Mid-Columbia Senior Softball League, a 110-member strong group. She’s served on the 14-year-old old league’s board for about five years. The co-ed league welcomes men ages 50 and up, and women 45 and up.

The league starts up in mid-April and plays 26 games through the end of July, culminating in a playoff “to see who is king of the hill,” Wormington said.

Wormington has five children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandson. She’s been married to Sandy for 36 years and they share a love of softball. It’s also how they met.

“That’s kind of our glue,” she said.

The couple also play volleyball Monday nights in Pasco. Connie said she tries to get to a yoga class three times a week as “stretching your body is an important thing to do.”

She also hangs upside down daily on an inversion table and recently eliminated sugar and dairy from her diet in addition to choosing mostly organic produce.

It’s all a part of her plan to keep her body healthy so she can get out on the softball field in the warmer weather.

“I plan to play until I drop,” she said.

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