Softball Yukon didn’t want to put itself in Harms’ way.
But that’s exactly what it did when it refused to allow Hidden Valley Elementary School’s Grade 6/7 softball team into this weekend’s Yukon Minor Softball Championships.
After the team was benched from the tourney, coach Peter Harms went to bat for his students.
“I can’t believe Softball Yukon,” said Harms. “It’s a dying sport, and they want to keep kids from playing.”
According to Softball Yukon, all championship participants must be in the Whitehorse Minor Softball League, or be affiliate members, which includes Watson Lake Minor Softball and Dawson City Minor Softball.
“Because they are from a Whitehorse school, those players can join the league,” said George Arcand, executive director of Softball Yukon.
Harms kicks dirt on the ruling.
“Tons of my kids live outside the city, we’re less than a kilometre from the city limits. They say were not a community, but this is a real community out here. We’ve got kids from Mendenhall, it’s their only chance to play.”
Softball Yukon has allowed schools into the tournament in the past — two teams entered from Elijah Smith. And the year they played, they won it, he noted.
Harms knows. He was the Elijah Smith coach.
Yes, an exception was made for a school team twice, concedes Arcand. But, both years, it threw the tourney into disarray.
“We had kids that wanted to play with their school instead of their league team,” he said.
Besides, organizing a team around a school class, which meets everyday, puts the league teams at a disadvantage, Arcand added.
Harms doesn’t buy it.
“I think they’re ticked off at Pete Harms, cause I coach at 100 miles per hour,” he said.