EDITORIAL: Athletes can entertain, inspire

It's whirlwind week for sports fans on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, as both the Scotiabank Canadian Open International Fastpitch Championship and the Tour de White Rock are in town at the same time.

It’s whirlwind week for sports fans on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, as both the Scotiabank Canadian Open International Fastpitch Championship and the Tour de White Rock are in town at the same time.

And while the two concurrent events – the Canadian Open began Saturday and wraps up July 17, while the Tour de White Rock runs Friday-Sunday – may pose a timing problem for those wishing to take it all in, fans would be wise to adjust their schedules accordingly. After all, it’s not often this much talent arrives here all at once.

The Canadian Open, for example, boasts five of the top six international women’s fastpitch teams in the world, while the younger divisions are chock full of girls who may one day end up wearing their country’s colours.

For proof, one did not have to look any further than the pitcher’s circle Sunday evening at Softball City, where 17-year-old Jocelyn Cater – a Delta resident who grew up playing for the White Rock Renegades – was wearing Canada’s colours, pitching the last few innings in Canada’s 2-0 win over Australia, one of the world’s powerhouse teams.

And Cater’s story is not unique – there’s world-class talent nearly everywhere you look this week, whether you take in the games at Softball City, Sunnyside Park or in Cloverdale.

The same can be said for the Tour de White Rock, which has long been a staple on the country’s cycling scene, routinely drawing the world’s top riders form across North America. This year, the challengers for the winner’s jersey include returnees such as Christian Meier, Ryan Anderson and Will Routley – all of whom ride professionally in Europe – as well as a host of newcomers.

And while the performances of all these athletes – in both sports – should be enough to sate the appetite of the casual fan, they may turn out to be especially inspiring for young athletes themselves, as they get a rare opportunity to watch the world’s best at work.

And unlike other professional sports that often hog the headlines, the majority of the athletes here this week aren’t in it for the money, or for fame, or in the case of Canadian Open athletes, even the glory of the Olympics – softball was axed from docket after the 2008 Summer Games.

Instead, they’re in it simply for the chance to compete, to improve, even to represent their country.

And that’s something worth paying attention to.

– Peace Arch News


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