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Lighthearted league marking 35 years

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Members of the Transcona Ladies Slo-pitch League are set to celebrate their 35th season of action at Buhler Park this summer.

PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON Enlarge Image

Members of the Transcona Ladies Slo-pitch League are set to celebrate their 35th season of action at Buhler Park this summer. Photo Store

The Transcona Ladies’ Slo-pitch League may be a little more organized than it was at its genesis.

That doesn’t mean its members have lost a step having fun on four bases.

The TLSL kicked off its 35th campaign with its season-opening tournament at Buhler Recreation Park from June 14 to 16 — keeping the Father’s Day tradition intact.

"The fathers need to spend time with their children so the ladies can go play ball," said current president Christal O’Brien-Frejuk and 17-year league veteran, noting the league is the longest-running ladies recreational slo-pitch loop in the city.

O’Brien-Frejuk, who is in her fourth year as president, said the league added a now-coveted Spirit of the League Award six years ago. Players enjoy camaraderie on the field, but off of it as well with a sold-out windup social each year that has had themes ranging from biker babes to a bevy of game shows to Christmas in September.

She noted players, many of whom originally lived in Transcona, will come in from Charleswood, Steinbach, Stonewall, and even Falcon Lake each week to play.

Carla Morgan, who served as the league’s president for 12 years, is a 34-year veteran of the league. Though she wasn’t around for the rookie season, she recalls the humble beginnings of the association.

"It was a bunch of Transcona housewives, of which I was one," said Morgan, who plays for the Nichol Backers. "We wanted something to do on a Tuesday evening, run the bases, hit the ball now and then, and most importantly, have a beer with our buddies."

The league’s early seasons saw the ladies on the Oxford Heights Community Centre diamonds before they moved to the Bayview fields. They have since settled at Buhler since its opening in 2008.

The circuit had four teams in its first year, added three more for its sophomore season, and has since ballooned to a sweet 16.

Morgan said umpires sometimes need to be reminded what they’re getting themselves into.

"We’re out there to have fun, and we count on them on maintaining that, too," she said. "However, if we have some antics like people hugging each other on the bases, it’s just part of the game.

"On playoff weekend (in early September), people will come out in nightgowns and with water-bombing guns."

On top of a good amount of lightheartedness on the diamond, there is also generosity. League champions will often donate their winnings to a cause, often helping out someone in the league who is in need.

Ladies can join the league once they hit the age of 25, and 35-year player Grace Clark of the Asham Sliders and 34-year player Beryl Hryb of the Angels said their daughters couldn’t wait to get to the minimum age.

O’Brien-Frejuk added while adding to the league isn’t imminent, it’s not a complete pipe dream either.

"Given the size of Buhler and that we go just the one night — Tuesday — I think we’re pretty good at 16," she said. "However, we do get applications and I wouldn’t be surprised if we decide to (expand) one day. But that’s up to the league. We always put it forward at the meeting."

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