By Sean Rooney on September 11, 2018.
It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, Medicine Hat’s softball association was just about sunk.
Volunteers were in short supply, and as far as teams went, there weren’t enough players at the higher levels to even consider sending anyone to provincials.
On Monday, with that era firmly in the past, one of the leaders in digging the sport out of its funk locally was given a rare honour.
Scott Kelly, coach of the under-16 Thunder, is Softball Alberta’s male minor coach of the year. He’ll be honoured during the association’s awards banquet Oct. 13 in Camrose.
“With his coaching and commitment to softball over the years, we were able to not only grow the game, but retain many kids who often we lose when they begin a new sport with low skill level,” wrote Medicine Hat Minor Softball Association president Michelle Campbell in her nomination letter. “He is the first to begin organizing tryouts and starting conversations in the spring and the last to leave the diamond each game.”
Kelly didn’t even know such an award existed before finding out Monday that he’d won it. He had another busy summer, coaching the Thunder in league play, then off to provincials plus taking the helm of the Zone 1 team at the Alberta Summer Games.
Medicine Hat was third at the provincial tournament and is now in line to host next summer.
“I just really enjoy the girls and their families, it’s always been great people, they always give a full effort and we’ve got so much better,” said Kelly.
“If everyone was miserable to be around and fighting, it would be no fun. It’s a testament to the girls and their families too.”
Kelly started coaching softball in 2014 and has taken a team to provincials the last three summers. He’s aware how far both his team and the association as a whole have come in that time.
“We had no rep teams,” he said. “You strive to play at the best level you can with the product that you have, you want to play against teams at the same level. We’ve done that for four or five years, produced other kids that want to do the same thing. I guess you could say we’re leaders in that respect.
“It takes a group effort, and I’m just glad it’s going like this because it’s a great sport.”
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