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President's Perspective

Prepared by Stephen Poirier

With the disruptions we’ve encountered over the past few years, I failed to recognize a milestone for our league. This season was in fact the 15 th season since the league was incorporated but because the 2020 season was cancelled, perhaps we can still celebrate 15 years of league play in 2023.

Although we could, we don’t often use the term “studied softball”. Although we could, we don’t often use the term “worked at softball”. The term we most often use when describing what we are doing is that we are “playing softball”. It is a subtle but important distinction that does not preclude studying the game or working at practice but rather confirms our collective focus at the ball diamond.
The spirit of play is noted in many different words in our Mission Statement. It was the motivation for my mentors who have now moved on and continues to motivate our current volunteers and I hope any new volunteers who join the Executive Team in the coming years.

Gail Weiler was the last President of Eringate Minor Softball before our new league was formed. Gail’s daughter Andrea is sitting at our table as the league Secretary and Social Media/Communications co-chairperson. Gail’s other daughter Nicole left our league this year to help the LadyJays build their umpire program. Every year since Gail moved on in 2008, we award a player in each division the Gail Weiler Spirit Award and on the trophy is Gail’s favourite saying. “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. There’s that word play again.

Grant Jones was a mentor of mine when I was moving up the ranks at Bloordale Baseball. Each year our league awards the MVP from each Chaos Select team the Grant Jones trophy. Grant was a huge fan of girls’ softball even though his children were both boys. His wife was instrumental in starting the girls’ softball program at Bloordale back in the late 1970’s when she and a couple of other moms felt the girls deserved a game of their own. Although Grant moved on a couple of years before our new league was formed, I feel his presence at the diamond on
many nights and I know he would be smiling.

These are just 2 volunteer profiles. I could go on and on. Larry Glen, Larry Jones, David Ashworth, David Lawrence, Yvonne Russell. Suffice to say, all of these volunteers, including myself, encouraged the players to work hard at practice and to study this game of softball because of course, one level of success is measured by winning. But trust me when I say that their, and my, primary motivation is to provide an opportunity for girls in our community to play softball.

Sitting at the table 
with me are a number of young people from our softball community who are my go-to persons during the year. A few short years ago, we had 22 people sitting at this table. With this smaller group, I’ve come to rely on them more and I can’t thank them enough for the guidance and effort they provide
during the year in all matters relating to softball.

Eringate Minor Softball and Bloordale Baseball began merging their girls’ softball programs in 2006 and a number of us completed the merger with the formation of the new league in 2008. For the first few years after 2006, the league was run by a handful of people. We had only 1 Chaos Select team, no Mayhem Rep teams, hosted no tournaments, held no official Opening Day celebrations, held no indoor training, sold no fanwear and had limited success at the diamond. Still, the girls kept coming back to the diamond and they brought some friends, so our registration slowly increased each year until we were the largest league in MEGS. Along the way, we started to win some championships, both House League and Select, and now Rep.

Since 2006, we have won more House League Championships than any other league in MEGS. Our Chaos and Mayhem teams have also made us known around the province. As this was all happening, the players decided they wanted to study the game of softball more and work at practicing. And so, we began to organize indoor training, expand our Select program, host our own home Select tournaments, introduce a Rep program, sell fanwear with pride and the numbers kept growing and success kept coming our way. And that’s a good thing!

We continue to offer a safe, fun and rewarding sport activity for players of all abilities while acknowledging the desire of many of our players to put in extra effort. If you visit Eringate on any night of the week over the summer and watch one of the games being played, (that word again), you will witness casual players, studious players and hardworking players all in action together. They may have different motivations but they all come to the park to play. I trust you get the theme of my musings.

Yours in softball,

Stephen Poirier

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