Ross Crocker loves the Moss minor tourney, but fears for minor softballs future
The Const. William Moss Memorial minor softball tournament runs from July 9-13 this year, attracting male and female teams. Ross Crocker, one of the organizers, would like to see more softball for the kids.Telegram file photo
For Ross Crocker, the annual Const. William Moss Memorial minor softball tournament is a bittersweet experience.
Crocker, who helps organize the tournament, loves watching the event and is thrilled it gives upwards of 500 kids a week of softball each summer. However, hes always left feeling frustrated and disappointed by the time the tournament ends because a lot of the players will have to wait a full year before stepping onto a softball diamond again.
This is the only game of ball some of them are going to have all summer, Crocker said. They come to us at the end and ask when the next tournament is, but some have to wait until the next Moss tournament to play.
No association in St. Johns
Although there are pockets of minor softball in the provincial capital Waterford Valley and Goulds, for example, run successful programs there hasnt been an official St. Johns minor softball program for six years. Crocker, a provincial softball Hall of Famer, is disappointed the kids taking part in the Moss tournament dont have a minor association to call their own and puts the blame for the situation squarely on the shoulders of Softball Newfoundland and Labrador.
This is where the provincial association is falling down on the job, said Crocker. We present to them 25-30 teams and run it for the first week of the summer. They should jump on that and run with it ... Its very disappointing.
They should start in St. Johns and work their way across the province. The provincial bodys focus should be minor softball. Never mind senior and junior ... minor is the key if theres going to be a game down the road. If they dont do something soon ...
Crocker worries senior and junior softball will cease to exist in St. Johns one day if more emphasis is not placed on the minor program soon. He said Softball Newfoundland and Labrador has to find someone to oversee the manner, an individual that can give the necessary hours the position would demand. He added there are plenty of people who could easily fill the role, but most of them have already lost patience with the provincial softball body.
He also said the usual excuses he hears about why minor softball wouldnt work dont make sense.
They say there arent enough kids anymore to play softball, but if theres enough kids to play minor hockey in the winter, theres enough kids to play minor softball in the summer, he said. They say soccer is taking all the kids, but they dont play soccer every day.
The fact a lot of young athletes from St. Johns wont play minor softball this summer makes the Moss tournament that much more special to Crocker.
Each summer, between 25 and 30 teams take part on fields all over St. Johns with the common goal of having fun, according to Crocker.
He said players of all skill levels and experience are welcome and encourages school teams to enter the event even if the kids are on summer vacation.
We just want people to come and have fun, he said. We dont care if youre a baseball team, a softball team, a soccer team, just come in and have a week of fun.
This years tournament runs July 9-13 and includes a skills competition and plenty of prizes for the players involved, including new Rawlings ball gloves for the most spirited player on each team and a $100 scholarship for the player who had the highest marks in school this year.
The boys division is broken down into squirt (10-12 years-old), peewee (13-14) and bantam (15-16), while the girls teams will play in two categories, experienced players and beginners.
See TOURNEY, page C2