On your mark, get set, go!
Put in Hours
“Oh my soul, it’s mind-boggling, when I think of those hours I put in on that old track with Bob Lockett and John MacIsaac,” said Hirtle, who coached track for 20 years, including stars Jackson, Lockett, and MacIsaac. “It’s hard to put into words. I lugged them around in my car in the summer. Took my summers. On the track. And the last year was MacIsaac and Lockett. It was six nights a week.”
They went to the Canadian Age Class Championships and came first and second in the 3,000 metres.
Hirtle, who started coaching in 1951, described the planned new Bridgetown track as world class.
Ryan said thoughts of a new track started when the community came to her and asked if there could be improvements to the track and field. It ended up a discussion on the future of sports in Bridgetown.
She said there was a lot of synergy and described the whole experience and new track as epic. “To be part of this has been absolutely amazing,” she said, adding people are already talking about districts and provincials and maybe even nationals.
“I hope it will be a place that this town and surrounding communities will take pride in,” McNeil said. “To make it happen it took a lot of hands, it took a lot of hard work. The province has committed $2.3 million to add to the federal government contribution. I don’t have any problem defending this investment across this province. This will be an investment that will make a huge difference not only in this town but in other parts (of the province).”
McNeil thanked the Municipality of the County of Annapolis whose council and staff he said were part of the journey.
“They will take on part of managing this facility, making sure that we can maintain it, making sure that the tennis courts … we’ll resurface them and put a new fences around them, continue to make sure the lights are working – that that facility will come alive again.”
He said the new facility will thrive not only as a great athletics facility but as an economic gener- ator for the town and surrounding area.
“Athletics is one of the defining characteristics of this community, so we’re capitalizing on an existing strength,” said Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski. “The second thing is this is really a community-led initiative. The people who participated and brainstormed to develop the idea, we’re so grateful for the work you’ve done on behalf of your community. Without your passion this sort of project would never take shape. And third, it involves participation from all three orders of government. That’s essential, the fact we have such a good working relationship with Stephen (McNeil), with the good working relationship with Colin (Fraser) at the provincial and federal levels. We couldn’t be doing the things that we’re doing if we didn’t have that strength of partnerships.”
McNeil, Fraser, and Hirtle unveiled an architectural drawing of the facility.
Former track and field coach Bill Hirtle and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil stand beside an image of the new $3.5-million athletics complex that will be built in Bridgetown on the site of the old high school where Hirtle was an original staff member, coach, and principal.
Central Kings basketball players have been seeing a lot of action on the court this month.