© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
79-year-old Roy Mattinson hits a pitch and runs to first base Tuesday night in Pugwash.
PUGWASH - Crack your fingers, stretch your arms and fill up the coffee mug because, come Thursday, it will be time for residents of Cumberland County to sit in front of their computer and step up to the plate for the Pugwash ball field.
"Vote as many times as you can, as often as you can, and get all your friends and neighbors, and even strangers, to vote," said 19-year old Alex Parker.
Parker sent a letter to TSN explaining why Pugwash needs to upgrade their ball field.
After looking at 512 letters, TSN nominated Pugwash as one of 20 Canadian finalists in the TSN Kraft 10-in-10 Celebration Tour.
Asked why his letter stood out from the pack, Parker said, "I think the fact it's a small community and everyone is so tightknit, and maybe the fact that my grandfather, Roy Mattinson, who's 79 now, still comes out every Sunday night to play with us."
The only hurdle Pugwash needs to overcome is their opponent - Port Hawkesbury.
"It's quite apparent in the pictures (on the TSN website) and the reasoning behind the funds that we definitely need it more (than Port Hawkesbury)," said Parker. "We're a smaller community and it's harder to generate money and the field is in need of serious upgrades."
Voting begins Thursday at 1 p.m. and ends Friday at 12:59 p.m. and, if they win, TSN will travel to Pugwash for a live broadcast of Sportcentre and present $25,000 to Pugwash for upgrades to the sports field.
Alex's grandmother, Helen, said Roy is at the field every Tuesday and Sunday and would love to see upgrades done.
"He has the young children playing there on Tuesday, and then on Sunday night the adults get together," she said. "The field's not that good and the fence is quite bad. It needs some updating, that's for sure. Roy would like to see upgrades very much."
Belinda Bennett would like to see upgrades as well.
Bennett was at the ball field Tuesday night.
“I’m usually out here with the kids for two or three hours every Tuesday and Sunday night,” she said. “I’ve been playing since my oldest one was little. She’ll be 20-year old and she’s been playing since she was five.”
Bennett was playing softball Tuesday and looked out on the field and said, “My husband is out there, my son’s out there, my daughter’s out there, my granddaughter is out there, and my nieces and nephews are out there.
“We need the field fixed up bad, and it would be good for the community,” she added. “So vote for Pugwash, we need all the vote we can get.”
Parker said the upgrades would help all of Cumberland County.
"Keep in mind you're not only voting for Pugwash, you're voting for Cumberland County," he said. "We have teams from all over the county who play, so everybody can take advantage of the field. You're not helping out one community, you're helping out the entire county."
Parker said he was inspired to write the letter because he wants to see people play ball on a better field.
"Just to see young kids and older people trying to use the ball park and keep a positive attitude toward it and to keep interested is inspiring," said Parker. "So as far as raising a lot of money, it takes a lot of work, so this contest was right up our alley."
Helen said Alex grew up playing at the ball field.
"So did his mom and his dad, and his sisters and cousins," she said. "We have a big family and we all enjoy it."
Parker said he is appreciative of the support the initiative has received.
"It goes to show how powerful a small community, as well as the county can be when they work together for a common goal."
Parker's letter and pictures can be seen at www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca/nominations/detail/1145/.
Voting is online at www.kraftcelebrationtour.ca, and begins Thursday at 1 p.m. and ends Friday at 12:59 p.m.