Community rallies to pull off tournament
Saturday, Aug 02, 2014 06:00 am
Sometimes there are problems and things don’t work out the way you’d like. And sometimes there are problems, and they work out better than you could have ever expected thanks to the community spirit, dedication and hard work of some truly amazing people.
This past week I had the honour of being the tournament co-ordinator for the Mosquito AA Tier 3 provincials that were scheduled to begin on Friday, July 25. I say scheduled, because no one needs reminding of the almost 100 millimetres of rain that fell from Thursday night to Saturday morning. The rain soaked our field, and dampened the spirits of our parent volunteers.
In the 10 days before the tournament, our volunteers had solicited sponsorships, ordered medals and T-shirts, organized raffles, planned opening ceremonies and even built a brand new press box for the Mosquito diamond. In spite of our best efforts, it looked like we were going to be hopelessly behind schedule and that the teams we were hosting were going to be seriously inconvenienced.
That is where the amazing part comes in, and where I find myself so happy to live in St. Albert and Alberta where people really do come together under difficult circumstances.
Let me tell you about some of the people who allowed us to get a three-day tournament done in two days.
• The wonderful folks at Servus Credit Union Place who graciously allowed us to move our opening ceremonies into one of the field houses on unbelievably short notice and the North East Zone Northstars coaches who immediately left the opening ceremonies to prepare their diamond for the next day. Both of these groups allowed us to keep the tournament much closer to the original schedule than we had ever thought possible.
• All the people who helped for many hours on Saturday to get the Mosquito diamond at Legion Memorial Park into shape. Many were there first thing in the morning and worked right up until the first game started at 5 p.m., using everything from rakes to industrial dryers. One of the most memorable sights of the weekend was seeing the Red Deer Braves coaches arrive at the field and immediately pick up rakes to lend a hand!
• Some of the amazing people in St. Albert like Jason and Patti Zayshley from Patcher Energy Management, who provided portable light standards for Saturday night free of charge with just one phone call. It wasn’t ideal for a game to go until 11 p.m. on Saturday, and the kids may never remember it, but for those of us watching the mist come off the field under the lights it was almost like a scene from Field of Dreams.
In the end, it didn’t matter who won or lost. Everyone coming together to make the event happen made it that much more fun and memorable for all involved. Exciting games were played, good sportsmanship was on display, fans were cheering and volunteers were smiling – it was a great example of what minor sports is all about.
One last thing: as host, the St. Albert Cardinals Mosquito AA Blue team had decided to try to raise money during these provincials for childhood cancer, a cause that touched us early in the season. We had audaciously hoped that if everything went as planned we could raise $500 to present to the Kids with Cancer Society. Well you know what? They didn’t go as planned and instead, thanks to the generosity of the players, coaches and fans, we raised $1,602.
Victoria Neary, St. Albert