SALEM, Va. – In what was supposed to be its 40th year, the Chance Crawford Benefit Softball Tournament will not happen this year.
Scheduled for April 17-19 on fields throughout the region, Salem officials announced Friday that the tournament is cancelled due to continued concerns related to the coronavirus.
“After a great deal of thought and consideration, it is with deep sadness that we have to cancel the 40th Chance Crawford Benefit Tournament for this year,” said tournament director Scott Scharnus in a news release. “With no timeline on when we will be getting back to some sort of normalcy, and with many other scheduled tournaments planned throughout the remainder of the year, there simply wasn’t a way to reschedule this tournament and do it justice.”
The tournament began in the spring of 1981 to help a young Salem High School quarterback, Chance Crawford, after he 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.
In 39 years, the tournament has taken in over $800,000, and put that money right back 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.
“We are working on a plan that would still allow us to gather funds needed to deliver scholarships and financial hardship money to the people who truly need it the most,” says Scharnus. “This tournament is not just about playing softball. More importantly, the participants come back year-after-year and play to help change the lives of those who need assistance in times like these.”
“We know cancelling this event is a hardship for many folks, including those who rely on the teams to fill restaurants and hotel rooms,” said Salem Parks and Recreation Director John Shaner, . “We’ll be back next spring and, hopefully, the Chance Crawford will be bigger and better than ever.”