Eastern Ontario Fastball Blog

A blog dedicated to news about the Greater Ottawa Fastball League and other happenings in the world of fastball / fastpitch softball in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with occasional stories featuring Mrs Fitzroy Fastball, Fitzroy Fastball Junior and the Caveman. If you have info to send on, send me an email at fastball[at]fitzroyharbour.com. Follow @fitzroyfastball on Twitter.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Caveman's love of the game

This story happened this summer - I meant to share it earlier, but just getting around to putting online now.

With the PanAm Games in Toronto this past summer, I took the opportunity to take in some games during the Men's Softball event in Ajax, about four hours from Fitzroy Harbour.

Mrs Fastball and I brought our two boys (Fitzroy Junior, 12 and the Caveman, 10) to the opening Sunday and the Monday of the event. Mrs Fastball and Fitzroy Junior watched most of the ball but did take some time out to visit downtown Toronto. However, Caveman and I watched every inning. It was an excellent venue where you could see the action up close and follow the movement of each pitch. Caveman was very excited to be watching the games, analyzing what pitches were thrown, questioning the managerial decisions, cheering for great plays and generally enjoying himself.

We met up with a lot of local folks also there to watch the ball. The players were very accessible - Caveman got a photo with his favourite Venezuelan pitcher, Ramon Jones.

The Monday night game between Canada and USA (3-2 for the host team) was an eight inning contest and might be the best fastpitch softball game I have ever seen in person with Sean Cleary going the distance. Following the game, we walked by several of the Canadian players. One of the guys, against whom I have played a few times and know a little, greeted me by name as we passed by. Caveman was incredulous - "A guy on Team Canada KNOWS YOU Daddy?!"

We had only planned on staying for two days, but when we ran into a member of the Softball Canada staff who happens to be a GOFL veteran, he offered us passes for a third full day of games and we decided to extend our stay.

After another full day of top flight fastball, it was time to leave Tuesday evening and return home to Fitzroy. As we walked from the field to the parking lot, Caveman started to sob. "I don't want to go, Daddy. Let's stay another day." The sobbing then turned to wailing as we drove out onto the highway. "Daddy, when are ever going to have a chance to watch softball like this again!". It was a good point, and I was very close to turning the car around to stay another night. However, we had committments at home to which we had to return. He cried himself to sleep, which was an unfortunate end to a great three days, but it was overall an excellent experience.

Fast forward a month to mid-August. It was time for the International Softball Congress World Tournament in Indiana, and I was attending as a coach for the Kanata Storm. Caveman asked several times if he could come with me - "I'll be good! I promise!" but at ten, I thought he was a bit young to bring along.

I did promise however to keep him up to date via text messages. After we won our first game at the ISCs, it set up a game against the Toronto Gators. Here is the actual exchange of messages with my wife, with his real name substituted with "Caveman":

Tell Caveman that tomorrow we play Toronto Gators. They have Sean Cleary from Team Canada and 6 guys from Team New Zealand

Caveman says you don't stand a chance and can you get him an autograph?

Haha tell Caveman thanks for his support

I wasn't sure about getting an autograph. I mean, I'm a big fan of Sean Cleary, he's a great pitcher and seems like a good guy. But I thought it might be a tad awkward for a grown man to ask for autograph. But Caveman was pretty insistent with a few different messages when he grabbed mom's phone.

Hi daddy it's Caveman can you actually get an autograph if possible hope you win love you

Hi DaD did you get a chance for an autograph, If not it's no biggy

Autograph yet ????

Hi DaaaaaaaaD autograph?

Through a couple of my Newfoundland connections, I ended up getting word that my young lad was looking for an autograph from a fellow pitcher. Not only did Cleary get an autograph to me, he signed an actual official ISF softball for him. To say Caveman was pleased with this gesture is an understatement.

Hi it's Caveman YOU ARE THE BEST is it on a Ball?

yes it is on a ball

Thx for the ball 😀😀😀😀 wish i was there

When I got back from the ISCs, the first thing I was asked (before even 'how are you') was "Where is the ball, Daddy!?"  Shortly after I gave it to him, he disappeared off to the bathroom....with the softball with him. "I just don't want it out of my sight, Daddy."

For the next week or so, he kept it close in hand, tossing it up and down while sitting on the couch until Mrs Fastball finally told him enough, or he was going to wear off the autograph.

It currently sits on his dresser, in a place of honour, proudly displayed among his ball and hockey trophies. I think I can say confidently that this past summer was when the Caveman went from a kid who really liked softball to a kid that absolutely loves the game and can't wait to play and watch his favourite game this coming season.

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