In September, I was privileged to attend the public screening of Behind in the Count: A Baseball Life.
This locally-produced independent film tells the true story of a group of 12-year-olds from Winnipeg’s North End and their incredible journey to win the Western Canada Little Canadian Baseball Championship.
Behind in the Count covers the magical summer of 1965 and 14 boys who grew up together in the North End. Sponsored by the Canadian Polish Athletic Club (CPAC), this multicultural team of low-income kids were true underdogs.
During that season, playing with hand-me-down gloves and ill-fitting uniforms, they learned teamwork and built confidence and hope. Given little chance to triumph from game to game, they not only won the Manitoba provincials but went all the way to win the Western Canadian Championship. What a tremendous story of overcoming adversity!
The film was written and directed by Don Marks, who was on that baseball team, and was then known as Don Boreski. It was produced by Jesse Green and his STRONGFRONT.tv production company. Two other members of that team, Grant Buckoski and Neil Avery, were the film’s production co-ordinators. The film was dedicated to Neil McLean, Al Giesbrecht and Ed Parisien, three team players who have since passed away.
Others on the team included Joe Lambert, Richard Ruggles, Bernie Dolski, Anthony Biegun, Pat Wozny, Bryon Taylor, Doug West and Allan Harmacy with team coaches Don Butt and Rick McGill. Many were in attendance the night of the screening.
As a special surprise, Scott Neiles, a former Goldeye, announced that next summer the team would be inducted into the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
It is easy to tell stories of hardship. But it is equally important that we share and celebrate our stories of success. If we are going to ask kids to overcome challenges and barriers, we have to show them role models who have succeeded. Thanks to the makers of Behind in the Count for taking on that job!
What a legacy the 1965 CPAC champs have left us — the story of that winning season will continue to inspire us today and into the future.