Play­ing with heavy hearts

The Compass - - Sports - TELEGRAM SPORTS EDI­TOR

WIN­NIPEG, MB —The New­found­land and Labrador men’s soft­ballers were play­ing at the Canada Games last week for coaches Paul and Donny King and team­mate Mark King.

All three Kings went back to New­found­land be­fore play con­cluded - Mark, Donny’s son, was a first base­man with the team - hav­ing left Win­nipeg last Tues­day to re­turn to their fam­i­lies fol­low­ing the death of their mother and grand­mother Mon­day in Pla­cen­tia.

Janette King was 73, and had been in ill health.

“I hope the boys keep it go­ing,” Paul King said dur­ing a lay­over at Pear­son Air­port in Toronto Tues­day morn­ing.

Jeff Kirk, who had been part of the team’s coach­ing staff, trav­elled from St. John’s to Win­nipeg Mon­day night, and was on the field Tues­day morn­ing for New­found­land’s 9-1, five-in­ning win over P.E.I., and again in the even­ing in a 10-2 set­back to On­tario. The team did not move on to the medal round and was sched­uled to play Prince Ed­ward Is­land Fri­day af­ter­noon for fifth place in the tour­na­ment.

Iron­i­cally enough, or per­haps sadly enough, Kirk had opted not to travel to the Games ini­tially fol­low­ing the pass­ing of his sis­ter, El­iz­a­beth Jane O’Don­nell (or Jane Kirk to friends), the pre­vi­ous Mon­day.

“I was part of the coach­ing staff prior to the Games, but af­ter my sis­ter passed, I didn’t feel right about com­ing in that sit­u­a­tion,” Kirk said. “You just don’t feel you’re able to come and leave your fam­ily in those con­di­tions. “And now with the Kings fac­ing the very same sce­nario, I felt ob­li­gated to help out.”

Kirk ad­mit­ted the coaches and their team­mate were on the play­ers’ minds Tues­day. The team has been to­gether for a cou­ple, or three years.

“There’s cer­tainly a bit of an at­tach­ment there, and def­i­nitely a lot of sor­row­ful feel­ings for the fam­ily,” Kirk said.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The un­der-18 CBN Shan­nons squad that claimed gold at provin­cials. Back row (l-r): Re­nee Vaters (coach), John Mweemba, Josh Grif­fin, Peter King, Colin Ros­siter, Matthew Clark, Stephen Macdon­ald, Jeremy Swain, Cody Vaters, Devon Groves, Lo­gan Sparkes, Dun­can Hunt, Daw­son Par­sons, John Ross Gille­spie and Dar­rell Noel (coach). Front row (l-r): Blake Loveys, Cameron King, Emily Kennedy, Ri­ley Pike, Braden Kel­loway and Caleb Noel (goalie).

Donny King

Paul King

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