Lo­cal en­tre­pre­neur pro­vid­ing com­mem­o­ra­tive balls for tour­ney

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Frank PEE­BLES Cit­i­zen staff fpee­[email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

B.C.’s top 15U baseball play­ers are about to have a ball in Prince George.

This city is the host of the 2019 BC Mi­nor Baseball As­so­ci­a­tion’s AA provin­cial tour­na­ment from Aug. 1-5 at the Nechako Park Fields (3303 North Nechako Road). The play­ers are aged 14 and 15 (some vari­a­tion de­pend­ing on birth­day), all able to play tal­ented baseball and con­scious of the sur­round­ings when they visit a new place. It is an in­flux of some of the top teenaged baseball play­ers in B.C.

More than 70 play­ers will square off for provin­cial gold, but the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of this tour­na­ment is off­set by sports­man­ship and ca­ma­raderie.

One of those el­e­ments is the keep­sake each player will get to take home from Prince George when the tour­na­ment is fin­ished, thanks to the lo­cal host com­mit­tee. Each ath­lete will re­ceived a baseball with the let­ters MVP stitched into the leather, a hand­made gift un­avail­able from any fac­tory. Each one was per­son­ally made by a lo­cal en­tre­pre­neur who sup­plies th­ese unique items to the whole con­ti­nent.

Terry Collins said that she once saw com­mem­o­ra­tive base­balls given as gifts, but the cus­tom let­ter­ing was a vinyl over­lay.

She grew up the daugh­ter of a pro­fes­sional em­broi­derer and had in­herited her late mother’s stitch­ing ma­chine. She knew she could do some­thing bet­ter than a glo­ri­fied sticker.

“I stole one of Lyle’s base­balls (her hus­band, Lyle Boutin, is a noted lo­cal player and coach) and took it apart to see how it was made, and how it might go back to­gether again,” said Collins.

“It all worked. The ma­chine can eas­ily stitch through the leather, and it just means I have to hand-stitch the cov­ers back on when I’m done.”

She started mak­ing them for her son Colton’s team. They were a hit – a con­ver­sa­tion piece that took off. Some­one sug­gested she look at sell­ing this ser­vice on the Etsy web­site. Collins had never heard of it, so after some quick re­search she un­der­stood the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Collins now gets orders from all over North Amer­ica for small batches of com­mem­o­ra­tive cus­tom em­broi­dery on base­balls. Some have a player’s name, some have top­i­cal words like Most Sports­man­like or Best Coach. This set of 72 is the largest sin­gle order she’s ever done, and it was for her home­town youth baseball as­so­ci­a­tion.

She is also the vol­un­teer uni­form man­ager for PGYBA, baseball is close to her heart, but she hadn’t imag­ined do­ing any­thing for the 15U provin­cials be­yond ar­rang­ing the out­fits for the Prince George Knights all-star team, as per usual.

When the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee came to her ask­ing if she was avail­able to make spe­cial keep­sakes for all the play­ers com­ing from across the prov­ince, she couldn’t say no. She has bud­geted how many she must do per day to com­plete the order, and she is stick­ing to it with mil­i­tary com­mit­ment.

“This is just a hobby, re­ally, and it helps pay my va­ca­tion fund,” she said. “I do it be­cause I know peo­ple re­ally like them and no­body else is do­ing it, and it keeps my hands busy when I can’t sit still.”

Collins’ busi­ness can be found on Etsy un­der her busi­ness name Wall Of Thread.

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY BRENT BRAATEN

Terry Collins with some of the 80 base­balls she cus­tom­ized for the U15 Provin­cials held in Prince George this week.

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