Millie Halcro, a volunteer scorekeeper in 100 Mile House, credits her baseball genes for spawning a passion and dedication to local games.
Out past the South Cariboo Recreation Centre in 100 Mile House, the men’s fastball league holds four games a week, two each on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Even if it’s rainy or windy or cold, Halcro is there, sitting on her forest green lawn chair, donned in a bright purple jacket and offering happy, encouraging smiles to all.
On Tuesday, June 5, as the Jake’s and the Shuswaps warm up for their 6:30 p.m. game, Halcro gathers roster information from the teams and welcomes players, spectators and children all by name.
“You spoil me!” she calls out when her friend, Jody, brings her a coffee. She thanks her with a warm hug.
One can quickly see how much Halcro is truly loved and appreciated in this baseball community.
“If I didn’t get to be a scorekeeper, I know I’d come and watch. I’d want to be here every game,” says Halcro.
The 100 Mile House local says she has been going to ball games in the South Cariboo since the 50s, when her father coached the Lumbermen.
Back then her mother, Ann, kept score for the games, even when her husband’s team wasn’t playing.
Halcro says she accompanied her mother to keep her company and give her breaks.
After her father died in the 70s, she says the teams worked hard to keep the leagues going, even travelling around for tournaments. Her mom kept scorekeeping and Halcro quit golf so she could help.
“My mom really was the best,” she says.
Her mom later passed away in 2010 and Halcro has continued to carry the torch for her family.
Everyone in her family played the game when she was growing up, she says. And while she may have played for a little bit, herself, she says she just loves watching and scorekeeping.
“It has to be in the genes,” she chuckles. “I love ball.”
Karen Smith, treasurer for the 100 Mile Performing Arts Society, cheers on her husband Gordon, whom she says is the oldest player in the league.
Smith sits beside Halcro and helps her give $1 to each child who returns a foul ball, a reward she says Halcro introduced to help encourage the kids and get them excited about baseball early on.
“She’s an amazing person,” says Smith.
Halcro, who comes to games armed with Ziploc bags full of coins for the children, says it’s unimportant where the money comes from, and smiles while she says: “The little ones are so excited when they get money.”
The umpire briefly interrupts to consult Halcro about a call he made in the previous inning. Halcro confirms the details of the play and tells him “well done” for making the right call.
“She doesn’t miss a thing,” says Smith.
Andrea Boyce, who huddles under blankets, says she has known Halcro her entire life.
“She’s so kind and positive with the players and knows everyone by name,” says Boyce. “She’s always here, even in the rain.”
For a lot of the players, Boyce says Halcro has watched them grow from boys into men. “She’s an amazing woman.”
Howard Stephens, who used to play ball, continues to come out and watch the games with his wife Sue.
The retired couple says they have known Halcro since the day they came to town 37 years ago. They have lived down the street from her ever since.
“She’s one of the best people in the world,” the couple say. “She’s a kind lady, a real sweetheart.”
Halcro speaks kindly about the coaches and players of the league, stressing the dedication it takes to keep baseball going in the area.
She says the teams help each other out, even playing for one another if players can’t make it to the games.
“There’s a winner at the end,” says Halcro. “But it doesn’t matter.”
Halcro happily donates her time to the league and says she would never accept payment because that’s not what the game is about for her.
“It’s just to come and enjoy and spread the love of ball and of our little town,” she says.