The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the snow is melting, and the sweet smell of spring is in the air. Is it time for love? Maybe, but it's also time for the University of Calgary baseball team to kick some ass.
In their first season together, the U of C team does not yet have full Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union status or even a definite league to play in. But they do have a team, they have a win, and they're full of high hopes for the upcoming few months.
It all started last winter when coach Brent Allardyce started to get junior players from around Calgary together for winter workouts at the U of C. One thing led to another and here they are, ready to play.
Gauntlet : How did you start the baseball team at the U of C?
Coach Allardyce : I coached a couple of winter camps at the university and I started to get the guys here for regular workouts. After a little while everyone just got better and better, so we decided to start the club. We're really lucky to have the opportunity to work out together and to create a good team atmosphere.
G : The team came together, but there was still no schedule or opponents. Who are you going to compete against this season?
Allardyce : We tried to find a league to play in, but that proved to be no easy task. There is a league in eastern Canada where teams from Ontario and Quebec compete, but that is a little far for us. We have a pile of games against Lethbridge who have two teams with the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Community College. We also hope to get involved with the new league starting out in BC and maybe go down to the us for a couple of games. We hope to create an eastern division in the BC league along with the Lethbridge teams and teams from the Okanagan.
G : What are the chances of you playing in the BC league?
Allardyce : Every time I talk to someone I am getting more and more encouraged.
G : What is your official status at the U of C?
Allardyce : We're just like the rowing team,we don't have the varsity status, but we have a national championship. Not that many sports have varsity status from the CIAU and baseball certainly doesn't. Wrestling was in that same boat until just a couple of years back.
G : How long will your season last and where will you play?
Allardyce : Our season is currently up and running, and we will try to play into early May. We will then break for normal summer junior leagues and then get it together again in August and September. We will play all our home games out of Burns Stadium.
G : What do you hope to achieve as a team this year?
Allardyce : We just hope to play some baseball and have a lot of fun. My goals have been achieved and surpassed because we're up and running. We split in Lethbridge last weekend and that was certainly a nice surprise. We did that without having a single outdoor practice, and it was wild. In all my years in baseball I've never done that.
G : How do you rank against your potential competitors?
Allardyce : We showed ourselves that we can play against both the Lethbridge teams and we hope that is also the case with the BC teams. We have real good calibre players and real good calibre people on our team and it's just been great so far.
The next home game for the team will be the weekend of April 28 and 29 at Burns Stadium. It will be a great time to come out and take in a baseball game, relax in the warm air, celebrate the end of exams, and maybe see some groomed green grass in the usually brownish city.