The still snow covered baseball diamonds in Chestermere. Photo by Ian Busby
With the snow finally melting and temperatures warming, Chesteremere’s kids of summer are hoping to hit the ground running when it’s dry enough.
The extended winter has made it seem like the outdoor sport season would never arrive, but as of now the Chestermere Crushers are on schedule to start the season when they normally do.
For the past few weeks, players have been working through the motions indoors with the anticipation that once they can get outside, they can go full out on games.
“We are fortunate to have some indoor facilities to get us up to speed so we will hit the ground running when the snow is gone,” said Crushers president Chris Wallin. “The challenge is we’re up against every other baseball organization in the city to use them. Everyone is in the same boat.
“We structure our program around that. When we do go outdoors we’re ready to roll.”
There are a few issues working against Chestermere baseball players, outside of the usual challenges that plague outdoor sports enthusiasts.
There is just enough diamonds for the approximately 380 kids registered in Crushers programs this year. When it’s nice out, every space will be used every night, but they also can’t accommodate the baseball programs for the older teenagers.
“Chestermere doesn’t have a diamond big enough for anyone over the age of 14,” Wallin said. “We have 16-17-year-olds that don’t have a diamond to play on, so we beg, borrow and steal any diamond we can get in the city.
“Sunridge Little League was nice enough to lend us their diamond the last few years. Which was awesome. Last year was the first time we put a softball program together as well as a Baseball Alberta program.
“So we have three teams that play in Baseball Alberta. Seven teams that will be in softball, plus we have all these little league teams. Crushers baseball is also softball, tee ball and coach pitch. It’s pretty big.”
The hope is that the warm weather will hold so that every level can get enough of their regular-season games in order to put together some tournament all-star teams for the summer months.
“It’s our intent to form all-star teams in each division,” Wallin said. “If there aren’t enough kids to commit to playing throughout July, the kids who want to play can go to another league and join a team.
“We’ve taken kids from other associations in some years and other years our kids have gone to other associations. All attempts are made to be inclusive.”
There have been times this ‘spring’ that it seemed like we would never get good enough weather to play some outdoor games.
The hope is the actual spring will be better than the winter, but of course rain is expected over the next couple of months while the kids are playing baseball and softball.
“We know the snow isn’t going to last forever but we know it can rain or snow at any point in the season,” Wallin said. “It snows May long weekend every year. It’s part of being in a northern climate and playing an outdoor sport.”