The White Rock Renegades ‘02 play the Calahoo Erins during last year’s Canada Cup tournament. This year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Lost season ‘disappointing’, but White Rock Renegades eager to play outside competition

South Surrey softball organization president hopes inter-city play is a few weeks away

As the longtime president of the White Rock Renegades, as well as the lead organizer behind many Surrey-hosted international softball tournaments – Greg Timm has seen firsthand his fair share of triumphant ballplayers.

Canada Cup gold medals, provincial championships, even Olympic qualifiers – he’s been there for all of it.

What he wasn’t expecting was to see was that same level of jubilation last month for a simple practice.

In mid-July – a few weeks after baseball was given the green light to return to the field in a limited capacity – Softball BC, ViaSport BC and the provincial health authority approved softball’s COVID-19 return-to-play plan, and members of the Renegades returned to Softball City and with more enthusiasm that even Timm expected.

“I was standing at the gate as we started to check people in (to the park)… and when the players walked in, it felt like they were walking into national championships, and all they were going to do was play catch,” he said.

“Honestly, they’re like caged animals. They’re used to getting worked pretty hard and they’re used to being really active and being out all the time at games and tournaments. So when they get out on that field (now), you have to hold them back almost.”

• READ ALSO: White Rock Tritons ‘just happy to get out there’ against real competition

While the pandemic-related shutdown of all sports has been tough for athletes everywhere, Timm said it felt especially difficult for those involved in spring/summer sports – like softball and baseball – because they lost their entire seasons, from start to finish.

“We were just getting ready to play our first tournament when COVID shut us down in the middle of March,” he said. “It’s been a disappointing year, but there are a lot bigger problems in the world right now than sports.”

Timm added that he felt the greatest disappointment for the Renegades’ 2002-born team, because had they played this season, he expects they could have added yet another Canadian title to the organization’s long list of championships. He also compared them to the Renegades ’91 team, coached by Chuck Westgard, that was inducted into the Softball BC Hall of Fame last year.

“They’re just a tremendous team. They’re as good as any team we’ve ever had, even going back to Chuck’s teams. They’re that good,” Timm said of the squad that finished third at nationals last summer.

“It’s a really special group of kids and I feel horrible for them that they didn’t get to close out (with a national championship opportunity) in their graduating year.”

Though it’s rare for a team to return for a third season at that level – due to players scattering across the continent to play university ball – Timm said it is still possible the 2002s return for a third and final year of eligibility next year. It would take a commitment from the players and coaches again, he said, but the fact they all lost the 2020 season may “tip them over the edge” when deciding whether to return.

Lost season aside, Timm and his fellow Renegades were pleased to be back on the field at all, even if the return-t0-play process “couldn’t move fast enough for our players and coaches.” Now, they’re looking forward to a point later this summer where they’ll be allowed to play teams from other cities. Recently, B.C. junior baseball league teams divided up into cohort groups and are currently playing a mini-season against one another. That’s a model Timm expects Softball BC to follow.

“We’ve taken a very conservative approach. At this moment in time, we’ve only played White Rock Renegades versus White Rock Renegades. We haven’t faced an outside team yet, but it seems like maybe it’s coming soon,” he said.

“I don’t know how the provincial health authority feels about the COVID numbers, but we are hoping to stretch (the schedule) to other teams in Surrey, like the (Surrey) Storm or the Cloverdale Fury by two weeks or so, but that’s not guaranteed yet.”

In addition to his duties with the Renegades, Timm is also the longtime chair of the Canada Cup international tournament, run annually at Softball City. That tournament – originally set for early July – was cancelled in late May, but is already set to return next summer, from July 2-11 if COVID protocols allow.

National teams from across the globe aren’t likely to be on hand for next summer’s event, because they’ll be in Tokyo preparing for the Olympics, set for to begin in late July 2021, but Timm was hopeful the popular Canadian squad – which features a handful of Surrey and White Rock talent – might make a brief appearance before heading to Japan.

“We’ve approached this like we’re just paused, and we’ll keep going and hopefully get our wheels moving for next year,” he said. “But we don’t know yet. It’s early… who knows if there’s even going to be an Olympics.

“I have my (Olympic softball) tickets and I haven’t given them up, although this might be the first Olympics ever with no fans in the stands.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Telethon promotes Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID response funding

Entrepreneur Manjit Lit gifts Surrey Hospital Foundation, challenges others to join him

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Wubs family donation buys priority equipment for Delta Hospital

Founder of Westland Insurance’s gift of $140,732 funding new gear for surgical services department

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Most Read