February Blog: Special Project Unveiled

DIAMOND GIRLS

Throughout our 50th anniversary the primary goal of the SSHF is to celebrate our inductees and showcase their back stories and accomplishments for the people of Saskatchewan. One very unique opportunity presented itself when Menagerie Productions and playwright, Maureen Ulrich, proposed a one-act, one-woman play featuring the Saskatchewan connection to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League as a project to be pursued through the SSHF’s Sport History grant.  With the support of Softball Saskatchewan, Women in Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation, and Saskatchewan Lotteries the project has become a reality.  Here is Maureen’s back story to this unique 50th anniversary project.

DIAMOND GIRLS: DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

Writing a one-act, one-woman show about the rise and fall of a baseball league is challenging, especially when eighteen players plus officials, fans, and coaches are required to play an actual game. Diamond Girls focuses on the involvement of three Saskatchewan women – Arleene Johnson Noga, Mary Baker, and Daisy Junor – who participated in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) during the 1940’s.

My relationship with Diamond Girls began with a Leader-Post article about a dedication to Mary Baker at Central Park, Regina. A League of Their Own is one of my favourite movies – and I wanted to learn more about the role Mary and other Saskatchewan women played in the AAGPBL. DiamonsGirlsSMALL

It has been thrilling and sobering to get to know them through nonfiction books, newspaper and magazine articles, yearbooks, letters, photographs, and interviews with their families and Arleene herself. Mary, Arleene, and Daisy not only played in the AAGPBL – they were stars. Furthermore they didn’t stop competing when their pro baseball careers ended.

I deeply regret never starting down this path sixteen years ago when I first met Arleene – when many of the Saskatchewan ladies were still alive – but it simply did not occur to me. Nevertheless, Arleene, who played ball for six decades, has lost none of her passion or loyalty towards a league that sent her on countless road trips, many miles from home, to play in front of thousands of fans and set fielding records. In sportswriter Ned Powers’ words, “There are a few women who could play a position as well as a man, and Arleene was one of them.” Yes, Arleene has fueled my fire to get these three characters on stage as quickly as possible.

My first draft merely told their stories, but over time their competitive, vibrant, baseball savvy personalities have emerged, showing the audience how unique their experiences truly were. A process of continual revision has begun, as each word of dialogue and direction is carefully considered. How can I provide actress Colleen Sutton (RiderGirl) with the tools she needs to create clear and lasting images in the minds of her audience? After all she will be roleplaying multiple characters in a variety of settings – baseball diamonds and hotel rooms, even a television game show. Naturally I will lean heavily on Colleen’s comedic and dramatic expertise. It is our goal to make every “inning” of Diamond Girls (yes, there are nine!) funny, gritty, enlightening, or poignant.

Like the AAGPBL teams, Diamond Girls will be on the road most of the summer.  Therefore, the set design must be minimal. Projections will be used at the beginning of the play both to create nostalgia and to acquaint the audience with the faces of all 25 Saskatchewan players. Two AAGPBL uniforms will be fabricated, as damage or loss of this important element would be devastating.

We are four months away from our first rehearsal in Estevan, but the groundwork for a solid, accurate, and entertaining story is slowly and carefully being laid. We hope you will see Diamond Girls if it travels to a community near yours. If you are interested in hosting a performance, please contact me or Sheila Kelly, as the tour schedule is still evolving.

I am indebted to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame (SSHF), the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Softball Saskatchewan, Women in Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation, and Saskatchewan Lotteries for their enthusiastic assistance and support. I especially look forward to helping the SSHF celebrate its 50th anniversary year.

Maureen Ulrich maureen.ulrich@sasktel.net

*Current Tour Locations and Dates (subject to change):

Estevan (Souris Valley Theatre) – June 2016 (exact dates TBA)
Weyburn (Tommy Douglas Performing Arts Centre) – June 27
Assiniboia (Olympia Theatre) – June 28
Regina (The Artesian) – June 30
Regina Fringe Festival – July 6-10
Winnipeg Fringe Festival – July 13-24
Edmonton Fringe Festival – August 11-21
Saskatoon (Broadway Theatre) August 28

*UPDATE: Please note that dates have changed for Diamond Girls performances. Updated information will be released in early May!

SSHF Honours Inductees Who Served Our Country

Leafs_Leaf

While it is difficult to put this type of gratitude into words, each year on this date, our country does what we can to show our sincere appreciation to those who have given their lives in service of our Nation’s freedom. Here at the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, we are well aware of what words like dedication, sacrifice and commitment stand for, as it is our mission to recognize those people in sport, who best exemplify what these phrases mean.

On November 11 however, that focus shifts and we pay our respects to those who have committed, dedicated and certainly sacrificed everything, in order to keep Canada among the greatest Nations in the world. In sport, similarities are often drawn to a battle, or fight which exists between two sides. Those conflicts though, pale in comparison to what a select few have experienced, beyond the field of play.

With this piece, we aim to thank these people for everything they have done to serve and better the places we live, work and play. Saskatchewan along with the rest Canada is forever grateful to the service men and women of this country. Everything they do on a daily basis ensures Canada remains, well and truly the north, strong and free.

Robert Adams – Athletics
Calvin Bricker – Athletics
Alex Decoteau – Athletics
William Forsyth – Athletics
Stanley Glover – Athletics
Joe Griffiths – Athletics
Harold Mitchelmore – Athletics
Peter Prediger – Baseball
Stanley ‘Hub’ Gutheridge – Basketball
Anton Glasser – Bowling
Gaston Eichel – Boxing
Ernest ‘Ossie’ Herlen – Boxing
Claude Petit – Boxing
Claude Warwick – Boxing
Eldon Elliot – Broadcasting
Alfred Hill – Curling
H.J. “Pete” Wilken – Curling
Captain Stanley Harrison – Equestrian
Sandy Archer – Football
Dr. Bob Arn – Football
Ken Charlton – Football
Paul Dojack – Football
R.C. ‘Scotty’ Livingston – Football
Neil ‘Piffles’ Taylor – Football
Fred Wilson – Football
Leonard Bath – General
Rollin Henry “Roly” Howes – General
Tom ‘Scotty’ Melville – General
Robert ‘Bobby’ Reid – General
John ‘Jack’ Stewart – General
Edgar ‘Wally’ Stinson – General
George Ward – General
Dr. Jack Leddy – Golf
Dr. Robert Reid – Golf
Tom Ross – Golf
Edward Abbott – Hockey
Garth Boesch – Hockey
Johnny Bower – Hockey
Austin Creswell – Hockey
Frank Foster – Hockey
Norman “Heck” Fowler – Hockey
Frank Germann – Hockey
William ‘Bill’ Griston – Hockey
William ‘Bill’ Hunter – Hockey
Dick Irvin Sr. – Hockey
Gordon Juckes – Hockey
Mike Kartusch – Hockey
Victor Lynn – Hockey
Jack Maddia – Hockey
Charles McCool – Hockey
Frederick McCulloch – Hockey
Ernie McNab – Hockey
Don Metz – Hockey
Nick Metz – Hockey
Stan Obodiac – Hockey
William Beatty Ramsay – Hockey
Chuck Rayner – Hockey
Ed Staniowski – Hockey
Harold ‘Harry’ Watson – Hockey
Al Ritchie – Hockey/Football
Tony Cote – Multi Sport
Joseph Austman – Rifle Shooting
James Harry Girgulis – Shooting
Julien Audette – Soaring
David Greyeyes – Soccer
Robert Van Impe – Softball
Dr. Sam Landa – Sport Medicine
William ‘Bill’ Orban – Sport Medicine
Harry Bailey – Swimming
Bill Ebbels – Tennis
J.B. ‘Kirk’ Kirkpatrick – Tennis
Dr. John Leicester – Tennis
David Ironside Pyle – Wrestling

Lest we forget.

Kaylyn Kyle Autograph Signing At SSHOF : Presented By Mitchell Developments Ltd

As is the case with every Olympic Games our country partakes in, there was much accomplished with much left to be desired. One of the sports showcased at the games however seemed to be the perfect combination of both desire and accomplishment brought together in way that has brought pride to this country like few things before it.

When our Women’s Soccer team took to the pitch at the start of the games, little was known about how they would fair, yet expectation was high as they went into the London games as potentially the most skilled squad this country has ever assembled. Throughout the tournament there was controversy, struggle and success and through it all the team managed to maintain the composure and positive attitude that our entire nation has become famous for.

During the course of the games, stories began to unfold and the spotlight started to shine on a few of the team’s standouts from different parts of the country. One such standout just so happens to be Saskatchewan’s very own Kaylyn Kyle who, during this Olympics helped to place both Women’s soccer and this province on one of the highest stages it has ever seen.

As most people are now aware the team went on to capture a bronze medal, giving Canada it’s first ever podium finish in the sport. Since the closing of the games there has been a whirlwind of media attention surrounding not only Kaylyn, but the team in it’s entirety and upon returning home there has been little if anything to slow the momentum of anyone associated with this incredible accomplishment.

But Kaylyn, like most Canadian athletes, will never forget the people, or the place that helped her reach her goals and has been constantly giving back to the sporting community of Saskatchewan. Now in celebration of everything she has done, this rising star is being honored by the Saskatchewan Sports Hall Of Fame with an autograph signing and photo opportunity for friends and fans in the Regina area.

On October 20th, from 10AM to 12 Noon Kaylyn will be at the Hall, located at 2205 Victoria Ave, in Regina where she will be taking time to talk and sign autographs for everyone attending the event. There will also be a photographer on hand taking pictures at a cost of $5/each (cash only) for anyone who would like to mark this occasion with a personalized memento.

Come and go as you please from the event, and feel free to stay as long as you like to take in all the great information and history that The Saskatchewan Sports Hall Of Fame has to offer.

We would like to thank all of our amazing sponsors for this event, Signature Graphics, sharpshooter photography, Designer Photographic Technologies and our Presenting Sponsor Mitchell Developments Ltd. We would also like to thank the Saskatchewan Soccer Association as well as the Regina Soccer Association for their support, and look forward to seeing all of you on the 20th!

 

*photo credit : sharpshooter photography