By Payne Tarkenton, M.A.

The regular season of the 2023 Virginia Employees Sports League (VESL) softball season has just wrapped up, and for the first time in the history of the VESL, the Virginia Management Fellows were able to field a team made up entirely of Fellows as well as our partners at the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM). The season as a whole was a success, and everyone on the team was able to contribute and have a good time playing softball with their coworkers.

The VESL, formerly known as the Governor’s Softball League, has operated for several years as an opportunity for employees of the Commonwealth to engage in fun, recreational sports in order to build camaraderie among coworkers. The league took a pause during the COVID pandemic but resumed play last season in 2022. Several members of the 2021-2023 Cohort of Virginia Management Fellows played on a team last season that combined several agencies into a large team. This season, members of both active cohorts of the VMF were able to join together and form a VMF team for the first time in the history of the VESL. This season saw an increase in the number of teams participating in the VESL from previous years, as teams representing Virginia ABC, Capitol Police, DCR, the Governor’s Office, VA Lottery, DCJS and DHCD, the Office of Attorney General, TAX, DOC, VDH, and Virginia State University were all able to participate in the VESL. Each game thus represented an opportunity for the VMF program to network with potential partner agencies, and each game provided at least one chance for members of the VMF team to explain what VMF is and how VMF can provide Fellows to agencies.

The VMF softball team also helped Fellows network with members of both active cohorts. Because of scheduling demand during the 2-year fellowship, there are limited chances for shared events between the two cohorts. The softball team provided an opportunity for this intra-cohort networking while also being a way for the Fellows to engage in friendly competition with other public servants.

Given that the VESL is likely to regularly continue, it is our hope that the VMF softball team can continue with each successive cohort, and that the team represents part of the legacy that the 2021-2023 and 2022-2024 Cohorts can leave behind for future participants in the program.

Many thanks to those who participated on the 2023 VMF Coyotes!

#2 Matt “Mamba” Jones

#3 Joseph “Joey Green Light” Dennie

#4 Jasmine “Jazz” Scott

#7 David “Davey Diamonds” Cohn

#9 Liam Orr

#10 Conrad Faett

#11 Anya Pfeiffer

#12 Anna Isler

#16 Payne “Skipper” Tarkenton

#19 Daveina “Day” Scruggs

#23 Madelyn Lent

#24 Cole McAndrew

#76 Claire “Boss Sizzler” Mairead