Equal opportunity ball: first NWT Ladies team at Softball Championship, 2011

In the movie A League of Their Own, women were given the chance to discover their talents, strengths, and sportsmanship in a way they never could before.
Although the depiction of this more local story is almost half a century in the future, it’s still one that has a bunch of female softball players just as excited. The ladies slo-pitch team that usually enters the Territorial Championships as the Brew Jays will be attending the nationals this year as Team NWT.

This will be the first time that an all ladies team will be entering the nationals from the territory.
The team earned the chance to attend this year’s national games when they took last year’s territorial championships in Yellowknife. The majority of the players are from Hay River and Yellowknife.
“Last year we didn’t take the step to go further,” said team member and spokesperson, Darlene Lamb. “It really is a pick up team, because sometimes with kids and summer holidays and families it really depends on who can go. But for the nationals, we had to determine the roster ahead of time, so we made that commitment in advance.”
“We’re happy to have a representative going to nationals,” said Softball NWT president Paul Gard. “Slo-pitch started gaining popularity in the 80s, bit since then, we’ve never had a women’s team going to the nationals. Softball Canada wants to increase participation so it helps that all the provinces and territories will be represented at this national event.”
This year, although the ladies will also be attending the territorial championship tournament, they decided they would take the plunge to attend the nationals, having given themselves plenty of time to plan. The nationals will be taking place in Dorchester, ON from August 9-13.
“This year we thought, ‘let’s just go,’” said Lamb. “So we fundraised and found sponsorship. People were really interested in and excited about what we were doing and we’re just excited about being able to go and see that calibre of ball.”
Many local businesses are aiding the ladies in their trip, and NWT Softball is looking to help out with a small amount. Tickets are booked, and arrangements are being made for coaches to head to the field early for practice and preparation, but not before competing against their territorial counterparts.
“We’ll play our best because it’ll be good practice for us,” said Lamb. “We’re all pumped.
For some of us ladies it will be our first and last time at nationals.”