It all started during hockey season. That’s when I was making my way through the concourse of the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, headed to my spot in the booth to call a game alongside Don Cameron. That’s when I ran into Ron McCarthy.
Ron knows my family well. We go back to the days when there was a Rotary Centre on King Street West in Kitchener, across from Grand River Hospital. It was at that Rotary Centre where we used to attend what we called “Swim and Gym.” And that’s what it was — a chance to use the centre’s pool and small gym for a little exercise and recreation. We would attend on a night reserved for children with Cystic Fibrosis. It was a chance for my sisters to be among other children who faced the same challenges they did and it was simply a chance for me to tag along. As it turns out, my older brother also went to school with Ron’s daughter.
So what does all this have to do with baseball? Well, when I ran into Ron at The Aud all those months ago, he began to speak excitedly about his association with the Kitchener Panthers. Knowing my family’s history, he wanted to organize a fundraising baseball game for Cystic Fibrosis. Since I’ll do anything to raise funds for and awareness about the disease, I naturally supported Ron by saying I’d do anything I could.
Truth be told, I didn’t do much. In fact, I’d see Ron from time to time through the hockey season and he’d remind me about his idea. And that was it. Well, that was it from me, anyway. But all that time Ron had been working diligently behind the scenes. Which all leads to the phone call I got a few weeks ago.
The charity game was all set. It would happen on Saturday, July 23rd, at 7 PM. We’d play at Jack Couch Park, the home of the Kitchener Panthers. All I had to do was ask around the radio station to find enough players to make up a team. Ron did all the heavy lifting, even securing prizes from various sponsors so that spectators at the game will have the chance to win a prize between every inning (we’re playing 7). He’s also talked to some Kitchener Rangers alumni living in the area and encouraged them to come out for the night.
I guess the last thing I have to do is ask if you’ll do the same. Would you consider coming out to watch the Media Misfits take on the Kitchener Panthers on Saturday, July 23rd, 7 PM at Jack Couch Park? Admission is by donation only — any amount you can spare from a loonie to a toonie and up, we’ll gladly accept. The money will go directly to Cystic Fibrosis research. And every person that drops some money in the donation box will automatically be entered into the draws that Ron has collected prizes to arrange. At the same time, I think you’ll have some fun. We radio types aren’t necessarily the best ball players, but we sure do know how to have fun.
I had a chat with Ron yesterday and he said someone had asked him why he was going to all this trouble for the game. His answer? “Why not?”
I’m sure former University of Waterloo president and now Governor-General David Johnston would be happy to know that spirit continues to thrive in this community.