For more than 12 years, Fernie has been home to a grass roots softball league. The Free Press spoke with the League Coordinator, Kat Robinson about the league and how she has been organizing it for four years.
With eight years in the league, Robinson took over from the previous league coordinator and has not looked back.
“The previous league coordinator was stepping down and if someone did not “step up to the plate” to coin a phrase who knows if it would have continued. I don’t mind the organizing; if truth be told, I quite like it and after the first year of doing it, it was a lot easier. I’ts also good that the other team managers are really supportive especially for getting the scores in,” she said.
The league typically has more than a dozen teams making mid-March the start date for league organization.
“It often changes; each season we lose a few teams then gain some new ones, anywhere between 12-16 teams. We play in a mixed league so of the 10 players on the field at least four have to be female,” she said. “Most teams have a least 16 players on their roster. This allows the team to have spares which allows them to still play when people are working or away.”
The slow-pitch league is open to anyone, with an age range of 16 to over 60; everyone is welcome, according to Robinson.
“We have a great mix, some teams are well established and have been playing together for a number of years but usually have the odd newer player, then we have brand new teams, often with players who have never played before, their usually from Australia or the UK but have played cricket,” she said.
The three-month season costs $600 per team. The team costs cover field hire, Canada Slow Pitch (NSA) registration, insurance, balls and scorebooks as well as the entry into the end of season tournament and prizes. Many teams have local sponsors who can cover the cost of registration or jerseys.
“The season this year runs from the start of May where we have two scheduled games per week, we have the season tournament at the end of July,” she said. “Then there are pick-up games through August for the ones who have not quite had enough ball. Some teams may get together on a weekend to practice, especially the newer ones who may need a little more polishing.”
Teams play on the two fields next to Prentice Park, stepping up to the plate every Monday through Thursday at 6 and 7:30 p.m.
“The first part of the season all the teams play each other once, then using the results we split the league into two divisions and they each play each other in that division, at the end of which we have a champion of each league and trophies are awarded,” she said. “The tournament is just an open draw and the winner and runners up take home prizes.”