My first recollection of Steve Hess was the Flock of Seagulls hairdo while he roamed the outfield of a softball game at Finney’s West. It was actually the same game that the asshole threw behind me on a single to RC and picked me off 1st base. And whether it be that hair or the nickname of Billy Idol or the Joe Bentz sounding “Corner” or the whats-he-gonna-do-this-year antics at the Rotary. it was likely something related to softball that many Kenoshans remember as their first indoctrination of the phenomenon known as “The Blade”. So it is only fitting that the cornerstone of “The Blade” Memorial Tournament is softball. The addition of a great bags tournament and now live entertainment are fantastic value adds for everyone, but the softball tournament is still the event that defines Steve Hess.
Event co-organizer Chris Wade mentioned that this tournament was something that had been in the works long before The Blade went to softball heaven. “The tourney is something Blade and I talked about for years”, Wade said. “Making a tourney for softball guys, ran by softball guys. Taking all things we liked best from our experiences playing in other tournaments, but with a Don twist to it.”.
Wade went on to mention it literally only took one year for this to go from a memorial event to a must-attend softball tournament. ” I never thought, with the status of softball in Kenosha right now, this would be as big as it is. From 8 teams last year playing in Tribute to Steve, to now this year 12 teams coming to play for the love of the game and the Honor of raising The Blade Trophy.”
And along with his co-conspirator Jason Griffin, Swa knew he’d be opening up a 16″ softball-sized can of worms by hosting an event in honor of a man that was this well-loved. “Putting this together is probably one of the hardest things I have had to do, but with guidance from above and all the love and support the Kenosha community has shown for Steve and Amy it is all worth it”, said Swa. And then he closed with a message to his long-time running partner….”I hope I did ya proud Don”.
“The Blade” takes place this whole weekend at the Moose. Ball, Bags, Music, and a Kenosha-based softball fellowship that goes well beyond any descriptions added into a story describing the magnitude of the weekend. If you get the chance, come on out…hug a Don..skol one to the great Steve Hess and celebrate the life of a man that lived for a tournament like this.