Around 15 to 20 years ago, Nakusp had a softball league with between 20-25 teams that played on a regular weekly basis, so legend goes according to Teresa Zanier. Although those halcyon days are over, Zanier and fellow ball enthusiast Zac Wethal are well on their way to bringing the sport back to its former glory.
“It was Zac’s brainstorm. We’ve all thought about it for years,”said Zanier, and Wethal decided to walk the talk.
“Over the years there’s been lots of talk about putting a league together, but no one had time to do it,” she said, a common problem for the over-dedicated volunteers in Nakusp.
A few months ago, Wethal and Zanier decided it didn’t matter; the time to start up a new league was now, and they got the ball rolling. Apparently the time was right to start it up, because the pair has been getting a lot of support and a lot of teams signing up.
Last week at the Minor Hockey Awards, Rusty Reimer congratulated the pair for getting it together, Zanier said, who is happy to hear there are a lot of people excited to get a league going in town again.
Six teams were already confirmed by May 3, a great response for the first year for the league in its current form. There are a few teams with sponsors, like the Overwaitea team, but for the most part uniform requirements will be casual.
“We recommend players do wear cleats for safety,” said Zanier.
Teams play with ten people on the field, usually seven guys and three girls (the rule is there must be a minimum of three of each sex on the field at any given time) who must be over 16 for insurance purposes, said Zanier. Actually, sixteen-year-olds are allowed, but there is a cap of five for the league, a number arrived through some byzantine insurance calculation.
Starting Monday, May 14, games will run regularly Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at Jackie Peterson & Helen Zeleznik fields.
“It looks like we’ll run through the summer,” Zanier told the Arrow Lakes News, who looks forward to playing and watching games under the ball diamond’s bright lights. She doesn’t think she’ll be the only one.
“I have no doubt we’ll have tons spectators for actual games,” she said, who has found nothing but enthusiasm for the league since its start a few months ago.
“Come out and join in the fun,” invited Zanier. “If you want to be part of the action, the league is always looking for volunteer umps for 6 p.m. games.”
You heard it: play ball!