As Trail creeks rise, and sluffing hot-spots of debris, soil, rocks and mud teeter ominously above West Trail, a group of committed baseball players and City of Trail workers are feverishly trying to get Butler Park ready for the Trail AAA Jays Safety-Net baseball tournament this weekend.
The incessant rain and stormy weather has many locals concerned and has resulted in mud slides, flooding, and tragedy for a Cresent Valley family when a 72-year-old man lost his life when swept away by rushing water.
Families across B.C. are being forced from their homes, Creston Valley called a State of Emergency, and Sicamous is mopping up a devastating flash flood where almost 400 people were evacuated, and many left homeless, as the flood-water remains unabated.
It kind of puts sport and a baseball tournament into a humbling if not insignificant light.
Mother Nature doesn’t care a whit about baseball and she is wholly indifferent to human suffering.
And yet, people continue to rebel against her, whether it’s filling and stacking sandbags, building dykes, clearing slides, bailing out basements or tilling and drying the Butler Park infield – small victories count.
According to the Southeast Fire Centre’s weather forcaster, June is on pace to set a record for the most precipitation and rainouts in a single season.
It has wiped out numerous junior and senior Babe Ruth baseball games including Tuesday’s final, cancelled the girls softball playoffs, soccer matches, the Little League minor playoffs, the Champion Lakes ladies golf tournament, the Mel Simister Memorial, a pair of West Kootenay Phillies and Diamondbacks double headers at Butler Park, an AM Ford Trail Orioles four-game homestand against the Honkers, and a Jays’ double bill.
With Butler Park completely soaked and unplayable, Tuesdays rain threatened the Jays Canada Day weekend tournament. But it didn’t stop the City’s Gerry Bertolucci from tilling the Butler Park infield amidst sheets of rain.
Similarly, parents, players, and volunteers were able to salvage the Little League Major championship at Haines Park Sunday by refusing to submit to her tyranny, as they removed buckets of rainwater, scraped and raked the infield, filled puddles and waited for sun and wind to help out.
A determined Jays crew did the same thing at Butler the previous week and managed to salvage one game of a double bill with Cranbrook.
On Wednesday, the whole Jays team was out with City crews trying desperately to get Butler ready for the tournament this weekend regardless of what Mother Nature throws at them – and it looks as though they have indeed succeeded.
It may be a small victory, but the ability of a determined crew to overcome obstacles and adversity in pursuit of a common goal is heartening.
It happens every day in sports and in life. It is those small ‘Butler Park’ victories that sustain us and prepare us for the greater ones to come.
As Longfellow wrote “Into each life a little rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary.”
But I’m fairly certain that beyond the rain and clouds the sun is still shining. Let’s hope it shines on the Jays, on us all, this weekend.