Hawaiian Shirts and Emoticons

June 13, 2022
| by:
Chandler Recreation

The bright glow of the field lights has dimmed, the dust of the infield settled, and the inaugural All-City Softball trophy resides with the Town of Gilbert and their team entry, Mike Piazza's Pizza Party.

But redemption is just a few months away.

Planning for the Second-annual All-City Softball Tournament is already in the works as the tournament looks to add new cities and more teams!

The All-City Softball Tournament fosters goodwill between cities in a fun, competitive spirit that promotes community building. Nowhere was that spirit felt more than from a jovial squad from Gilbert's Cactus Yard League, whose team name is simply the smiley face emoticon :).

"We were in a group message discussing what should be our team name. Someone threw out the colon and the parenthesis for a smiley face," said team captain Alex Petty. "Since then, we've just been Team Smiley Face."

Team Smiley Face isn't your typical competitive adult league softball squad. Comprised mainly of a group of high school friends who played baseball, they have a no worries, all-around feel-good vibe that permeates the way they play the game, evident even in their uniform choice of Hawaiian button-down shirts. The shirts, which began as a way to differentiate themselves on the field, transformed into a status symbol.

"If you make a good play or do something good, you take down a button," said Petty. "By the end of the game, if your shirt is wide open, you had a good game."

Fun is fun, but Team Smiley Face didn't enter the tournament without a desire to take home the trophy. They transformed early trepidation into success, with a 3-0 record in pool play, landing them a spot in the semi-finals. But their momentum fizzled after the break losing 20-0, ending their day and championship hopes.

However, Team Smiley Face is already looking forward to next year.

"We'll definitely be doing it again," said Petty. "Everyone had a great time; it was awesome."

Whether it was the Hawaiian shirts, the light-hearted razzing of teammates from the dugout, or the whimsical team name, Team Smiley Face embodies the vision of the All-City Softball Tournament: Fun, friendly competition, and most importantly, good times.