By Earl Heath –
The Black Voice News takes you to Loveland,Colorado where its five-thirty a.m. and the breakfast room at the Holiday Inn Express is filled with a group of fourteen year-olds a few parents and coaches. They are team Kolohe. (which means rascals).Their home is Ewa Beach Hawaii located on the island of Oahu. They are part of Triple Crown Sports 160 plus team Jr. Sparkler tournament.
“Its some of the girls first time off the island,” said Dawn Akioa. ”They are all having fun and enjoying themselves.”
A week earlier Kolohe finished ninth in the forty team Colorado Classic; also put on by Triple Crown Sports. They are a team unified as they eat laugh and share their adventure as a whole.
Southern California’s Rynell Thomas swings a mean stick for the Batbusters but her dreams show something different. “I want to get in to Law Enforcement,” said the 12 year old. Softball helps her get her focus on life.
Robert Ferguson drove his Minnesota Renagade team fifteen hours to take part in the tournament. “I never realized how long Nebraska was,“ said Ferguson jokingly.
“We has to gas up there ten times. “
Coach Mike Moore brought his Blue Angel team from North Haven, Mississippi a town a few miles south of West Memphis Arkansas.
Team Pegasus of Salt Lake boasted of the most passionate coaches in the game. The forty something Mary Kay sprinted from the dugout to and from her third base coaches box every inning. Her team would follow with the same type of energy. The Victoria Devils 14U team had a contingent of about twenty- five. They made the trek from Vancouver Island British, Columbia.
They began their preparation in October of 2010.
Practicing indoors due to weather restraints. It was a hard working team that was enthusiastic and also very grateful to be here. It took various fundraising efforts and some willing parents to get the group here.
“They love playing teams from America,” said head coach Brian Wallace. “The teams here are very competitive and challenging.“
The team was impressed with number of fields in the Loveland, Denver area and how well they were kept up. Tourney sites consisted of more than sixty fields.
Mother nature also was a fore-front, temperatures reached 90 plus daily. “We don’t get this much heat at home, The temperature doesn’t get much more than eighty degrees where were from.” July 1st is Canada’s Independence Day. Before their game on this date the players lined up along the first base line and sang O Canada.
The tourney came to an end for the Devils on the final Saturday. Trailing 8-1 in the final frame they rallied back to just fall 8-7. It didn’t appear to harm the spirits. “I’m proud of each and everyone of you,” Wallace told his team after the game.
“You brought something with you. Each and every umpire said it was a pleasure when you were on the field.”
With Triple Crown Sports putting on the regular Sparkler and the having some 400 plus teams in the Denver, Westminster area there were over 560 teams gathered for the week.
From Victoria British Columbia to North Haven, Mississippi, from the woods of Minnesota to the to the plains of Missouri. The Island of Hawaii and from the desert to the sea in Southern California.
We can all learn one thing The ‘softball nation’ is bigger than all of us. Tomorrow’s Kanora Posey’s, Monica Abbots’, Jenny Finches, Natasha Watley’s are beginning to grow. The seeds have been planted. It is truly “one nation under a groove.”