Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business at Southside Virginia Community College, recently participated in the 30th anniversary of the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama. The Olympics-style event saw over 10,000 athletes age 50 and over participate in 19 different sports. Competition was held in five-year age divisions within those sports, with Dalton participating in the women’s 50+ division of
softball. Her Pennsylvania-based team, Team Works, played six games in a three-day span, as they competed for the gold medal. They opened play with a commanding 16 – 0 win over the Ohio Rocke
rs. They then ran up on nemesis Virginia team and perennial power, Dreamgirlz, and lost 9 – 21. They started day two play with a 9 – 3 win over California-based Over It, followed by a back-and-forth game with the Tennessee Stars which ultimately ended in a 12 – 9 win for Team Works. They went into the final day of play as one of four remaining undefeated teams in the field of 20. One more win would guarantee them the bronze medal and put them in contention for gold. Unfortunately, the bats went cold, resulting in a heart-breaking 2 – 5 loss to Jolico out of Michigan. Even though the offense picked up a bit in the next game, it wasn’t enough, and Team Works ended their Olympic run with a 7 – 16 loss to Sudden Impact, relegating them to a tie for 5th place.
Dalton fielded the short stop position for Team Works and batted second in the line-up. Through her first 11 at bats in the first four games, she was perfect at the plate, including two doubles and two triples. In her final at-bat of the fourth game, she grounded to the second baseman, forcing her teammate out at 2nd and ending her perfect Olympics hitting streak. The next two games were an offensive struggle, as she managed one additional hit and a walk in six more plate appearances.
For all but one member of the team, it was their first Olympics. The team is already making plans to participate in the next biannual event when the 2019 games take place in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dalton was inspired by the thousands of athletes competing at a very high level, regardless of age. These Olympics even saw three athletes who were over the age of 100. The event provided an outstanding opportunity for fun, fellowship, camaraderie, and competition.
In keeping with their softball family tradition, husband Johnny accompanied the team to Alabama and is also looking forward to the 2019 games. He has played on, sponsored, and coached his men’s team, Dalton Farms, for decades, winning numerous state and regional championships. Recently, he began sponsorship of a second team, nicknamed Dalton Farms Generation II, as son Jacob leads the team and plays with a number of fellow former Charger baseball players and friends. A recent tournament in Salem, Virginia, saw all three Daltons in action. Dixie’s local women’s team, the Rebels, is coached by father, Albert Watts. All three teams did well and advanced to the final day of play, representing the hometown region with strong play and good sportsmanship. The Daltons are an example of the many families in Southside that value the teamwork, skill-building, fun, and competition provided through sport.