By Jonathan Rios
Special to the Kansan
SAN ANTONIO — The story of the San Antonio Glowworm Athletic Club was established in the year 1957.
My Grandfather, Hildebrand (Chilolo) Rios, was the founder of this men’s fast-pitch team and organization. Hildebrand was a fixture in the fast-pitch community in Texas. He was a player for the Moonglow Athletic Club in the 1930s and 40s. He was then called to active duty into the United States Army serving his country in WWII as a paratrooper.
When Chilolo returned home from duty he resumed his fast-pitch career in San Antonio until an unfortunate injury ended his playing career. The year was 1957 when Chilolo began his coaching career launching the inaugural season for the San Antonio Glowworm team. The Glowworm biggest win under Chilolo would come at the prominentRusk Latin American Tournament in Houston. As seven years would pass, Chilolo would host the first Fourth of July San Antonio Glowworm men’s fast-pitch tournament in San Antonio. This fast-pitch tournament is known worldwide for its prestigious history and the talent pool of teams and players that have been able to participate in its 54 year history. As Chilolo would get older, the tournament and team was then passed on to his seven sons. The Rios brothers Ruben, Hildebrand Jr., Michael, Mario, Caesar, Rene and David would pick up right where Chilolo left off by taking the team and becoming a recognized organization in Texas.
Known for developing young ball players from the San Antonio community into men’s fast-pitch players. Chilolo’s passing in November of 1998 was not the end of the Glowworms but a new beginning to his legacy. As Rios brothers ran the organization for 13 years, the San Antonio Glowworm was then transformed into the Rios Glowworm in 2011. The Rios Glowworm team consisted of all third generation Rios grandsons and was now ran by David Jr., and Jonathan Rios the sons of David Rios. The Rios Glowworm would play together for a full three years and would carry the ideals of the Rios family tradition all over the state of Texas.
In 2014, the San Antonio Glowworm began to expand to bigger horizons by welcoming international players from all over the United States and the world onto its team. The San Antonio Glowworm has experienced much success since 2014 with several first-place finishes including winning its own tournament in 2017, a feature that had not been done since the tournament was established in 1964.
The Glowworm then in the same year traveled outside of Texas for the first time since 1993 by participating in the Kansas City Angels tournament finishing in third place. For the first time, the San Antonio Glowworm will be traveling to Newton to participate in the 70th anniversary of the Newton Mexican-American Athletic Club Fast-Pitch tournament. In the 61-year history of the San Antonio Glowworm, this organization has an extended family to our sponsors, friends and all in the softball community worldwide.
Hildebrand’s envision of spreading the game and growing men’s fast-pitch game in Texas is now the responsibility of his grandsons so, that their children can do the same to carry on his legacy. The Rios family has made many friends from all walks life and in the softball world. Chilolo’s spirit is alive and well in the game fast-pitch, the sport we have all grown to love and are keeping alive.