FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With four executive positions being filled, Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch is poised for a good turnout despite the pandemic’s goalposts constantly being moved.
The new league president is Eric Stutzman, Jamie Hollen Gunn moved from secretary to vice president, the new treasurer is Latoya Orton, and filling Hollen Gunn’s position as secretary is Sophia Wilson.
The selection process was different this year. Due to public health restrictions on gatherings, the league did not have an annual general meeting.
Instead, with full transparency, members put names forth in a Facebook post, and others voiced their approval of the selections.
“We did nominations on Facebook, and then we gave a week for people to say yea or nay. We only got one nomination per position anyways, so there was no voting required. All the nominations were seconded, nobody disagreed, and it went really smoothly,” says Hollen Gunn.
While the league did manage to play games from mid-June to mid-August last year, there were no tournaments. Hollen Gunn says they had to make some minor changes to get last season off the ground.
“We still had registration, and we ended up with 30 teams. It ended up being a pretty good turnout, considering there were still a lot of people that were not comfortable playing, which is fine,” says Hollen Gunn. “We reduced the registration fee by quite a bit because we were having quite a different season.”
As for what this season will look like, Hollen Gunn believes one obstacle is the limit of 10 players per team.
“That is literally how many you need to field a full team, so that means we don’t have spares. We have several teams with elderly players who can’t play a full seven innings, so that’s a big hurdle for us right now.”
Hollen Gunn hopes those restrictions are eased slightly to allow for spares, but she’s not holding her breath.
“We’re not really expecting to hear any loosening on the restrictions until after May long weekend, but right now, we are still set to start our season on time.”
Before the season starts, the league organizers put together a work party to patrol the fields, picking up any presents the dogs leave behind in winter and identifying problems for the city to repair.
“One of the dugouts is missing a big chunk of plywood, so we fix those things up; the city is really good about giving us a break if we’re doing major repairs. Otherwise, they maintain the fields really, really well. They mow and drag it for us, and the infields are usually in great shape.”
While much is in the hands of public health officials, Hollen Gunn has a singular goal for this season.
“I have a feeling that this year is going to look a lot like last year in terms of not a lot of tournaments, but I’m really hoping to have a better, longer season for our teams this year. That’s our major goal.”