Sunday, August 29, 2004



I've played slo-pitch since I was 18. I started with a team out of Copps Coliseum (I think it might have been a 3-pitch team) and then, when I started at Dofasco, I was picked up to play on a men's team. That team's pitcher hooked me up with a bunch that he played mixed ball with. Many of us on that mixed team stayed together for about 12 years, switching to men's ball in 1996. The last two years, I played on a men's team that a good friend of mine, Shawn McVittie, played on. We won the league championship both years.

Why am I telling you all of this?

I can now say that, after winning a championship on a team where I had no real "friends" (Shawn suddenly passed away in the winter of 2002), I enjoyed what may have been my best year of baseball in about 10 years. An old, old friend of mine, Mike Johnny, and I talked about me playing on his team this year. When the team's captain, Grant Voisin, asked me to hook up with them, I never gave it a second thought. I have reconnected with a lot of people from my youth on this team (Grant and Rob Divinski, friends of my brother's from the old neighborhood. Pete Stapleford and Ed Reid, with whom I was in Mike's wedding party. Chris Culver and Kevin Rizun, who I competed against in hockey and baseball pools). Plus I get the opportunity to hang out with Matt Collins, Philpott's youth pastor and a heck of an outfielder.

I haven't felt like I "belonged" on a team in a number of years. This year was great from the word go. I didn't hit that well, and the team finished 5th in a 6-team league, but every game was enjoyable and, with only a couple of exceptions, competitive to the end. We even played a 0-0 tie, which is a true rarity in slo-pitch.

Next year, I hope to talk my brother Mark into coming out to play, which would be awesome. Now if only Mike would move home, we could put all the Benallick boys on the field together, which hasn't happened since we last played in a tournament with our extended family. That's something else I hope to do next year, too.

Anyhow, we had a full day of playoff action yesterday, playing 3 games before bowing out. I'm very sore today (left knee, right foot, right elbow) and will probably need medical treatment over the winter, but it was worth every ache and pain to have such an awesome summer of ball. Looking forward to next year, Shooters!!!!!!