SOFTBALL GAMES are so easy to find in this area that they're hard to avoid, but here are a few of the special events coming up this season:
* Midnight Madness is what the Fairfax Adult Softball Council calls a coed softball marathon to be held the first weekend in August; 75 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and 25 percent goes to build or improve more softball fields. There will be nearly a hundred teams, and games will be going on around the clock at the Wakefield, Nottoway and Mason District parks and at four other fields. The affair, which will run from 7 p.m. Friday, August 2, to 7 p.m. Sunday, August 4, "will be the longest ever in the Washington area," according to council spokesman Chip Parrott. The parks will also feature carnival-type games and food concessions. Any team of 10 or more players may enter the round-robin tournament; for more information, call 533-3014.
* The Fairfax softball marathon record will last less than a month, according to the Alexandria recreation department, inviting all to its annual coed softball marathon, which a spokesman asserted "will start before 7 p.m. on Friday, August 23, and will run until after 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 25, and anyway they're stealing our idea, for shame." The Alexandria tournament's also open to all; last year a team came straight from a West End toga party at 3 a.m. They didn't win, but as best they remember, they had fun. For more information, call 838-4345.
* If you want to see how the game is played by masters, the Amateur Softball Association's national championship tournament for men 35 and over will run from Friday evening, August 30, and through the following Monday at Olney Regional Park. Admission is free. For information, call 468-4176. GETTING WITH THE PROGRAMS
A grandumenical spirit runs through the regional softball programs, so that any area resident may join just about any team that will have him or her, without regard to political geography. In some cases there are modest additional fees for nonresidents, and most jursidictions require that at least a majority of members of all teams live in that jurisdiction, lest the taxpayers revolt over paying to recreate outlanders.
But one of the nicest things about the sport is that there are so many teams, you very likely can find a nearby or even neighborhood team that suits your level of play. In any case, the logical way to start is by getting in touch with your local recreation department's softball program:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- D.C. Recreation Department, 673-6787; Capitol Hill Softball League, 225-7742
MARYLAND -- Montgomery County, 468-4176; City of Rockville, 424-8000; City of Gaithersburg, 926-1100; Prince George's County, 699-2421.
VIRGINIA -- Alexandria, 838-4345; Arlington, 558-2287; Fairfax County, 533-3014.