Reflections of Ponoka: Former Ponokan staying young and having fun at age 70

They will always be among the best years of our topsy-turvy lives ... trying hard to grow up, going to school, working, playing

Terry Tweedy

Terry Tweedy

They will always be among the best years of our topsy-turvy lives … trying hard to grow up, going to school, working, playing, gallivanting, and finally settling down and raising a family in and around the fabulous and friendly home Town of Ponoka. In all that precious time in this great community, I have been truly blessed to be able to meet, mix and mingle with so many wonderful and amazing people of all ages and walks of life in an experience that I hope all of us in that generation will never forget.

Of all those countless individuals, families and friends that we all got to rub shoulders with along the way, each and every one of them had their own personality, skills, compassion and wild and wonderful habits that couldn’t help but rub off on others around them. There is no doubt we have made lots of new friends along the way, but as we get older we must also strive to remember and stay in touch with those we were so lucky enough to meet and hang around with in the past. It will always be a treat and a joy to run into and chat with some of our mentors and acquaintances of days gone by, and a few weeks ago I got a surprise call from Terry Tweedy, whom I vividly recall as a congenial young fellow that I got to know many years ago during my own adventures in and around Ponoka. Over the years, Terry became a fun-loving friend and somewhat of a character to most everyone who crossed his path in the community, and we quickly discovered that his most outstanding trait was his devil-may-care attitude as well as a great sense of often mischievous humour and a keen competitive spirit.

Terry had spent much of the roaring 60s,70s,80s and beyond in and around Ponoka, growing up with his parents and sister Mina. As a youth, he excelled at most sports in school and the community, joining the minor baseball and other programs, as well as becoming an avid ‘pool shark’, and being able to tour the Ponoka Community Golf Course with three clubs and great success, while always happy to win a few bets along the way. Yours truly was fortunate enough to get to be a teammate with Terry as a member of the Ponoka Rancher Inn Raiders when we won the championship of the Lacombe and District Men’s Fastball League in the both 1980 and 1981 seasons. As an adult, he operated a paving outfit over the warm months and could be seen with his crew fixing roads and potholes in and around our town and districts. ‘TT’, as he was known, later moved to Vancouver Island to pursue other employment and adventures, and it was there in 1991 that he starting playing in the Victoria Senior Amateur Baseball League.

It was through his skills as a pitcher that he became involved with the Strandlund family, who quickly opened up many exciting opportunities for Terry to play in year-round local and international competition in Canada and the United States. This included eight trips to the Roy Hobb’s Old Timers’ World Series at Fort Lauderdale Florida, to the MSBL series in Phoenix, to the World Master Games in Edmonton and Portland, in eight Canadian seniors championships and in countless tournaments and special events. The most amazing fact about Terry Tweedy’s countless trips to all those dusty baseball diamonds is the fact that this wily senior is still tossing a few fastballs, a good curve, and a real mean screwball in many high-calibre competitions at the age of 70 years.

While suiting up with over 36 senior baseball teams during the past 20-plus years, Terry has met a whole lot of wonderful people and had some amazing experiences along the way. Some of the highlights have included: meeting Buck O’Neil at Chief Sealth School in Seattle, as well as a barnstorming ‘sports marketing’ motorcycle trip with his friend Gary Thomsen through Washington, Montana, up into western Canada and then into the Dakotas and finishing with a game at Satchel Paige Park in 2000. In 1999, on a trip to the Nationals, Terry had the unique opportunity of joining up with the Seattle White Sox at Fort Myers, Florida. He will never forget that day when the Sox handed him the ball for the game against the four time defending champion Florida Masters, who were on a 36-game winning streak, but they went on to win that game against ex-pros such as Ron Leflore, Mike Marshall, and Vida Blue. In 2001, Tweedy played with the Seattle Silver Foxes and would help them to win one gold, two silvers, and three bronze medals. Terry will return to Florida for two weeks this November to play in a seniors’ baseball tournament with three teams, including the over 60-Komox from B.C., as well as the over 65 Washington Titans, and his old team-mates, the Western Silver Foxes in the over 70 competition.

Terry was thrilled to be able to come to Red Deer last month to play in the Doug Bradford Memorial Tournament at Great Chief Park, in which Rick Wyrozub of Ponoka also took part. Other locals who have continued to play ball in their retirement years have been Lyle Krause in Camrose, Grant Sharp in a very active senior slow pitch circuit in Arizona, and of course, there are many others who have yet to put the glove and cleats away. As a vibrant old timer, Terry Tweedy is still competing in the Victoria Senior Baseball League, expressing the fact that his E.R.A. was at .057 for his first seven appearances this season, to which he jokingly stressed that this is probably one of the few times when someone’s ERA plus their IQ totals adds up to less than his age.. Terry really enjoyed returning to Ponoka with Ally for the PCHS Class of 1961 Anniversary Reunion, where it was great to see so many old friends, including long time buddy Garry Rowland. In his email to me, Terry stressed that he is living the school boy dream, and that as long as he keeps dazzling himself, he will just keep on going. We wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavours, where we hope he can continue to stay and play young, while the rest of us will strive to make every effort to keep up with that same sort of keen spirit and inspiration for the same sort of happiness and fun in our lives.