GSL History

By Peter Wanner

I have been asked to speak to the beginnings of the Georgetown Slo-Pitch League (GSL). As the founder and constant participant in the League, I suppose I am as qualified as anyone to relate the beginnings and the history of the League.

In the mid-1970's I was involved in the creation of the Goderich Menís Slo-Pitch League, and was aware of their efforts, but also the pitfalls in organizing a League. Forever and a day, the team I play on, the SOBís, played pickup ball every Thursday night and organized ball on Sunday morning. As we were getting more and more requests from new players for the Thursday night, and recognizing that entry to the Sunday League was through having the position willed to you, it became clear that there was a need for another league. As with anything done on a voluntary basis, if someone doesnít step forward to do the work, who would. With the SOBís permission, we gave up our Thursday night slot and I began working toward organizing the League.

With the help of the Town of Georgetown, interest and participation was sought through ads in the local paper. My old haunts were contacted in Goderich to obtain a copy of their constitution which was amended to fit our situation. The main goal was, and continues to be, to provide an outlet for adults to participate in the recreational activity of Slo-Pitch. We organized to operate as a not for profit organization, but through the fees and proceeds of the tournament, hoped that eventually some permanent reminder of our existence will be created at one of the parks.

In its first year of play, 1989, the League consisted of 16 mens teams organized in two sections, recreational and competitive. There has been constant demand and growth, so much so that in 1996, there were 42 teams, playing Competitive, Recreational, Mixed and Men's over 35. This year, we expect to come close to 50 teams.

The name change, from Georgetown Mens Slo-Pitch League, to the Georgetown Slo-Pitch League, was brought into effect in an effort to recognize the participation of the women in the Mixed division. Through an annual shifting of teams, where the winner of one division replaces the least successful of the division above them, the level of competition has grown with the League. One team that won the SkyDome tournament comes from our League, and there is a respectful representation by our players at the Provincial Championships each year.

A short but enjoyable history of the League. We are but one League, with the Sunday morning league and its 12 teams, the Ladies Powderpuff League and their 30 teams, and several smaller leagues of 6 teams. Coming from a Town of under 20,000 to have our League with 50 teams, and 1,000 participants, the other leagues with their 1200 participants, I personally feel that Slo-Pitch has become one of the most popular, yet affordable sports in this town.