Playing with heavy hearts
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.
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).