Organized sports has returned to 100 Mile House this month in the form of the 100 Mile Slo-Pitch league.
This season is being organized Kristy Anderson who has been helping to organize the slow-pitch league for the last several years and recently stepped up to be a lead organizer after the previous lead organizers had to relocate following a mill closure. Anderson herself used to work for West Fraser and took a year away from the workforce recently to help her daughter fight Hodgkins Lymphoma at the B.C. Children’s Hospital and is now cancer-free.
“We’re very happy and can’t wait until all this COVID-19 stuff is over so we can have a big barbeque to celebrate with our friends and family because they were really there for us through the last year,” Anderson said.
As far as the 100 Mile Slo-Pitch league goes Anderson said they had to start a month late at the beginning of June as their seasons usually begin in May. The National Slowpitch Association, which they are a member of, sent out a set of guidelines for leagues to follow if they decide to start playing ball, once groups of up to 50 people were allowed to gather outdoors again.
Once this was done Anderson and the other organizers decided to start the league up again while following the NSA’s extensive guidelines on how play was to be conducted. These include not using the dugouts, remaining as distanced as possible on the field and off it, sanitize the balls between innings, no sharing of bats between players and other precautions like that.
“Most of the teams are compiled of family members or people that are part of each other’s small social circle or bubble anyway and there’s no interaction with the other team,” Anderson said. “We still cheer for one another at the end of the games but we don’t do handshakes any more.”
While they may be playing regular games again Anderson said they will not be hosting any tournaments this year because that would require too many people and break the guidelines. However, as the two diamonds in town by the South Cariboo Recreation Centre are decently spaced away from one another Anderson feels that they could have 50 people at each diamond. On any given night she says there are only about 40 people on each diamond anyways.
The 100 Mile Slo-Pitch league plays Mondays to Thursdays at 6:45 p.m. with games lasting from an hour to an hour and a half long with eight teams playing against one another. Anderson said they threw the whole season together in a week and anticipated only having six but were pleasantly surprised to have some new teams join their roster.
“Everyone is so happy to be able to be playing again to be back out on the diamond and throwing the ball around,” Anderson said, adding that each team has received the new rules for play and is responsible for enforcing them amongst themselves.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Anderson said that if someone wants to come to watch a game, they’re more than welcome but they need to keep the guidelines of only having 50 people gathered in one place in mind. If there’s no room in the bleachers, sitting in your car is also an option, she added, though you could risk a ball hitting your car.
“Everyone is definitely missing their sports, on TV, being able to play it and we’re lucky in this small town that we were able to start playing and we’re just a bunch of people who love the game and we hope that the town is ok with us to get together and do this,” Anderson said. “We are taking precautions and we are being safe.”