PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - To get to the new Panama City Beach Sports Complex you have to drive down Chip Seal Parkway, a road leading to new beginnings in the sports world.
One local is being remembered through the new Panama City Beach Sports Complex and a local softball team kicking off the tournament. The softball team changed its name for the tournament to "Seal Strong", honoring Chip Seal. (WJHG/WECP)
Chip Seal, a lifelong Bay County resident who loved sports and worked for the Tourist Development Council, helped envision the sports park but died of cancer before it was built.
Now one of the first local teams to play at the new park is playing in his memory.
"I got a call from a friend of my, of our family, asking us if it was okay if they played this tournament, this world series tournament, in honor of my late husband, Chip Seal," said Chip's widow, Amy Seal.
That friend, Robbie Freed, has a daughter playing for the team in the tournament.
"We got to thinking about it, this is the first time they're playing at this complex that the road was named in his honor, I said, 'Man, we ought to play for Chip,'" said Freed.
The softball team is usually called the Reapers, but for this week-long tournament, their coach says he's proud the girls wanted to change the name to Seal Strong.
"It represents a lot of what the girls are about and what softball is about," said Coach Lee Temples.
"The fact that they wanted to represent Chip and his memory was just awesome to me. I couldn't be more happy and our children couldn't be more happy," said Amy.
The girls are three-time world series champs, and they're hoping to bring home another win. But this one would be for Chip.
"Let's go have fun and play for Chip, cause that's what he's all about, he loved to have fun," said Freed.
And for this team, they are having fun playing with the Seal Strong spirit on their side.
"I hope they win it all," said Amy.
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