The message emanating from Sylvan Lake’s Four Seasons Park on Aug. 21 was designed to send shivers up the spines of softball coaches across the United States and into South America.
Coaches at the West Coast Softball Academy’s softball camp, held at the park over the past week, participated in the growing movement to promote ALS through the ice bucket challenge.
Twelve coaches and 10 instructors had been coaching 100 youngsters, aged eight to 18, in the skills of competitive softball. As a finale for their week, they gathered under a huge loader bucket as a combination of ice and water flooded down on their heads — about 200 gallons of water and 20 bags of ice.
It was all caught on video as was their challenge.
They called out their own colleagues across North and South America to respond to the challenge. Specifically coaches at UCLA, Texas A & M, Washington State, Oregon State, and the Venezuelan national team.
Kim Wright, owner of West Coast Softball Academy in Vancouver, has been organizing the camp in Sylvan Lake for the past six years. She also partners with River City Fastball of Edmonton in the endeavour.
“There are awesome facilities here,” she said. “It’s awesome for the staff to live together in a house on the lake. The weather is always good.”
She added that the response from Alberta softball players is always good. “It’s great every year.”
Wright, herself the head coach of the Venezuelan national team, has been associated with Team Canada for the past 15 years, twice as an assistant coach.
She brought together an experienced roster of young softball players to coach at this year’s camp. Most were under 30 and graduates of American universities where they played softball. They included:
● Jen Schroeder who played with UCLA and owns The Packaged Deal, a group of motivational females who use their passion for the game of softball to positively impact lives both on and off the field.
● Morgan Stuart, a graduate of the University of Washington Huskies and winner of the World Series championship as part of The Packaged Deal.
● Katie Schroeder who played with UCLA and on the US National team currently volunteers as assistant coach at Arizona State University, part of The Packaged Deal.
● Amanda Scarborough a graduate of Texas A & M and part of The Packaged Deal.
● Savannah Lloyd who started with Boston College and graduated from Texas A & M.
● Marty Reid, a graduate of UCLA.
● Maddi Mobley, another UCLA grad who is now in charge of operations for the UCLA softball team.
● Jimmy Kolaitis, assistant coach of the Oregon State University Ducks and past coach of the Chicago Bandits pro team.
● Christina Ferrante, a graduate of California State Ð Monteray Bay and co-founder of WSN247.com. The website covers women’s sports and female athletes, she said. Among her bloggers are seven members of the Canadian Women’s National Softball team as well as players from the U. S. National team and a U.S. paralympian from the women’s sitting volleyball team.
● Nicole Shroeder, sister of Katie and Jan, who is currently a player with Arkansas State University Razorbacks.
Part of the impetus for answering the challenge came from Vicki Stewart and her daughter Sarah, of Edmonton, who were attending the camp. Vicki’s father, Garold Fields passed away at the age of 57 from ALS.
“He went undiagnosed for a year and a half then passed away within a week after being diagnosed,” she said.
Vicki Stewart grew up playing basketball and softball and her father was her role model. “This is a special moment for our family to be involved and pass this challenge on,” she said.
Sarah added when she first heard about the ice bucket challenge she wasn’t sure about it. However, she was challenged by a friend back home in Edmonton.
Organizing the ice bucket challenge at the ball fields wasn’t that difficult, said Kris Lindberg. He was working with Graham Parsons at the hockey camp when one of the softball organizers approached them about using a Zamboni. While that wasn’t possible, a couple of quick phone calls resulted in a loader, provided by Al’s Bobcat, water to fill the bucket, transported to the site by Fire Chief Cliff Brausen and Deputy Chief Steve Scanland in a fire truck, and ice from Sobey’s. They’d originally thought about using a Bobcat, but after determining the number of people involved, found the bucket size wasn’t big enough.
The ALS ice bucket challenge has taken off in popularity across North America. Since early June the concept has gone viral on social media. According to the ALS Canada website on Monday over $5.8 million had been raised. In the United States the challenge had raised $79.7 million while the organization had received just $2.5 million during the same period the previous year (July 29-August 25).
To see the video check out: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFINH4aWvm0&feature=youtube