Dixie Belles, Angels begin weekend with food

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

Troy is hosting the Dixie Belles and Dixie Angels State Softball Tournament this weekend.

Although Troy isn't the biggest city on the map, its reputation for top-notch recreation teams and facilities are known far and wide.

"We have an outstanding reputation," said Pam Nix, the adult sports coordinator at Troy Parks & Recreation.

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In 1995 and 1998 Troy hosted the Dixie Youth baseball World Series. The reputation gained from those two experiences, plus a bid, helped Troy get two of the four Dixie softball state tournaments.

"We've really enjoyed getting ready for it and decorating for it," Nix said. "I can't wait to meet all the teams and their parents."

The weekend will kick-off tonight with a cookout at 5:30 at Troy Elementary School for the teams and their families.

Jimmy and Martha Copeland volunteer their time to organize the cookout for every major sporting event.

Jimmy said tonight's cookout will set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

"The atmosphere is festive," he said. "The idea is that these are in fact participants in the state tournament; they are all good players. We need to treat them like queens."

Volunteers spent the day Thursday decorating the TES cafeteria in bright greens and yellows with American flags and softball scarecrows as centerpieces.

Melanie Davis, the head softball coach at Troy State University, will be the special guest speaker.

Jimmy also said local businesses had donated souvenir bags for each of the girls.

The menu will be grilled and fried chicken, salad, rolls, cookies and a drink. The key is to have everything in place when the girls get there so that the salad doesn't get too warm and the chicken doesn't get too cold.

"Four years ago when we did this for the boys we fed 400 people in less than 45 minutes," Jimmy said.

After their dinner, the teams will have a little bit of time left to make it to the tournament's opening ceremony at the Troy Sportsplex at 8:30 p.m. At the ceremony, every player, coach and sponsor will be introduced. After that there will be a brief fireworks show.

Tournament games start Saturday at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Sportsplex.

Host families need to be at the cookout at 5 p.m. and attend opening ceremonies with their team.