Nanaimo won the other day.
Over the Victoria Day long weekend I happened to catch the last few innings of the best baseball game of the year so far. The Nanaimo Pirates junior baseball team had a lead against the Langley Blaze, lost the lead, forced extra innings and then found a way to win the game and take the tournament title.
The victors celebrated and smiled, the vanquished ranted and raved and stormed out of the stadium.
The Pirates threw out the scoresheet afterward. It was an exhibition game, after all, one that didn’t even count in the standings.
So did it matter that Nanaimo won that day? Absolutely. And we at the Bulletin lauded those teens as conquering heroes, with a front-page photo, and details of the dramatic finish.
Over the 25 years that the Nanaimo News Bulletin has been around, there have been countless wins and losses, inside and outside the confines of the stadium.
In other sections of the paper you might read about victories and defeats in provincial elections, in city council chambers, at the school trustees’ table. You might read about efforts to curb crime or fight fires. You might read about campaigns to save the Vancouver Island marmot, or the Colliery dams, or the harbour, or the world.
All worthy causes, to be sure, and eminently achievable – but they just might take a bit longer than a nine-inning baseball game or a three-period hockey game.
Nanaimo wins those types of games almost every day, and has been doing so for the 25 years the Bulletin has been around, and long before that, too. And sure our athletes play for personal glory sometimes, or for their love of the game, but there is also an element of civic pride, as they compete for the logo on their chests.
Even though the newspaper has been around since 1988, the first Bulletin sports section didn’t appear until 1994, when the paper went to twice-a-week circulation. That first sports section was just one page, consisting of a syndicated column, a note about U16 soccer tryouts and a recap of a midget A lacrosse game.
And as it happened, Nanaimo won that day, too.