On 1 March 2018, we lost a coach, mentor, leader and most of all, a dear friend. As head coach of the older girls in our softball programme, Coach Al Sauvé was a regular (sometimes five nights a week) at the various diamonds in Oakbank: never without his gear, proud of his teams, bantering with the parents (and occasionally with the other team), and just genuinely enjoying himself. His coaching style helped players develop a love and respect for the game, as well as a fierce appreciation and expectation of sportsmanship. He was equally respected by the younger players through his regular presence at coaching and pitching clinics, where he was always ready with a word of encouragement and advice about batting or throwing techniques. We all loved his humour: dry, low-key and timed to perfection. Other coaches could never really escape a subtle jab here and there from Coach Al, but nor would they really want to.
We are down one, but not for lack of trying and fighting. Thank you, Al. For everything you did for softball in Springfield, for inspiring young girls to be better athletes, better teammates and better people, and really for being the honest, kind and dedicated guy you were. You will not be forgotten. Your character and personality lives on in the DNA of our organization, because you showed us how a good team is one that works together, celebrates the wins and the losses, and respects the sport and players more than anything else.
MAY 2018 UPDATE: The U19 team for the 2018 regular season, many of whom have been coached by Coach Al before, are all wearing jerseys with his initials on the back left shoulder. This is in his memory and represents a “pat on the back” from Coach Al for the effort his players put into the game.