Softball stalwart honoured at Labour Day Tournament
Barry Chislett of Cavendish involved in event since 1988
Attending every Clarenville Labour Day Softball Tournament for almost 30 years, it’s near impossible to be more of a local fixture than Barry Chislett.
Hailing from Cavendish, Trinity Bay, Chislett told TC Media a love of the game is what keeps him coming back to Clarenville year after year. “All the boys are the same (as me). They’re like kids at Christmas — waiting to get up Christmas morning — can’t wait,” said Chislett.
The commute is about an hour and a half, but Chislett said that’s nothing when there is softball to be played. “From the time I was 12 to 13 years old I got into ball and I played a lot of hockey and that too. But softball, I managed to stick with it,” he said.
Over the years, he’s been coming and registering many different teams — this year he coached Shag Rock. While he doesn’t play anymore because of injuries, he likes being around the game and teaching, especially to some of the next generation of softball players.
“I’m sure I can pass on a little bit of knowledge to the younger crowd,” he said. “And to watch them; I’ve seen players start when they were 15 to 16 years old and now they’re probably 25 to 28 years old with kids of their own. I love seeing all that, watching them all grow up.”
Tournament convener Scott Maidment made a special point of recognizing Chislett this year for his years of dedication to the annual tournament. He presented him with a personalized jacket for his service.
Maidment said it’s important to recognize those who contribute and people like Chislett represent the great longevity of the popular event. He said it sets a good example for the younger players. “There’s always new young blood coming into these tournaments,” said Maidment. “(They) can learn from (Barry) because he’s been at it so long that he’s familiar with everything now, it’s just routine.”
When asked how it feels to be honoured, Chislett joked it certainly made him feel old. He also commended Maidment and Neil Greening for all the work they put in to making sure everything runs smoothly each year for everyone’s benefit.
“I enjoy it myself so I’m not looking for any recognition or anything because I just love coming down here,” said Chislett.
He said the teams from his area don’t get a chance to play much ball aside from some scattered tournaments, and the big Labour Day Classic is a staple for the end of the season. He’s even made friends that he looks forward to seeing each year at the event. “I see people here, friends of mine, that’s the only time I see them when I meet them down here Labour Day Weekend, and you see them again the following year,” said Chislett.
It’s such a big deal for Chislett and “the boys” he said once this year’s tournament is over, they already begin looking forward to next year’s.
“We love coming out here, always did. (We) never had any trouble, the people are great to get along with. It’s excellent,” he said.
Barry Chislett (right) accepts his personalized jacket from the Clarenville Labour Day Softball Tournament convener Scott Maidment as recognition for years of dedication to the event.