Mow ball diamond grass and have pride in Ponoka

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Dear Editor:

Integrity. By definition is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes.

Baseball season has come and is near the end of its lifespan for the summer. We have had some nice nights, some great and memorable games, and it has been an overall great season. I play slo-pitch in town two nights a week, I coached the mosquito team in town this year, and as well I am running the first annual Kinsmen Klassic Slo-Pitch tournament in town this year. Despite the successes of this season, there has been a blemish throughout which bears significant implications on several fronts.

The maintenance of the diamonds has been severely overlooked from day 1 of the season. I realize it was wet at the beginning and we have been getting rain as of late, but surely there is time to keep the diamonds properly mowed and free of ruts and bumps on the shale. It was two weeks into all seasons before the grass was mowed once. Multiple times our team has arrived at the diamonds to see the shale looking lacklustre and pitted. I have overheard kids (10 and 11) from other teams say, “Do they even have a tractor for the diamonds?” Surely if children notice the disrepair of the diamonds is this not cause for concern? In saying that, maintenance of any diamond is not only for aesthetic causes, but it poses certain safety risks.

If the grass is not mowed it becomes hard to see not only the ball, but also any holes or divots throughout the field. These holes and divots shouldn’t be a concern in the first place, but when they are hidden by a foot of grass in spots it becomes very easy to sprain or perhaps even break an ankle. Aside from that, it also affects the ability to play the ball as it is slowed substantially upon entry into the field.

The grass on these diamonds should never be above six inches as an absolute maximum. This keeps the field at an optimum playing condition, as well as free of mosquitoes that have become quite terrible when playing in a foot of grass. I am trying to get this Kinsmen tournament off the ground and make it a successful event for years to come. The resounding message I have received is that teams don’t want to play in Ponoka due to our lack of maintenance of our diamonds. This pains me to hear this as I feel people around the community voice the same concern and no action has been taken.

The third part of this is possibly most important and ties to the last. Town integrity. Are we not proud of our town of Ponoka? We have so much to boast these days. We have a very successful rodeo, a brand new agricultural building, many amenities, flourishing businesses, parks and recreational facilities to offer. I have only lived here for about two years, and have become quite happy living in Ponoka. I enjoy the people, the atmosphere, and the overall quality of life in Ponoka, but we need to establish a new level of town conscientiousness, especially within youths if we want to grow and flourish throughout the years to come.

So let this be a call to arms. If our mindset is one of pride, growth, and integrity and we broadcast that through acts as simple as keeping the grass mowed, that message is relayed and broadcasted to our fellow Albertans. It says “Come visit, Come Play, Come Stay!” It promotes positivity and community togetherness. I can’t speak enough to the importance of broadcasting this message. So I challenge you Ponoka, young and old. Do something for the community. Pick up that piece of garbage, join a service club, give back in any way you can. Let’s be loud and proud. Let’s promote ourselves as a community. Let’s practice a new level of integrity.

Onwards and upwards Ponoka.

Adrian DeBeer