From a single team to the most successful fast pitch organization in Manitoba
The Smitty’s Organization of teams was officially founded in the late summer of 1992 by a group of interested individuals dedicated to the formation of an elite “A” softball program in all age categories.
At the forefront of this endeavor were Roy and Evelyne Holenski, long time coaches of the Smitty’s Senior Ladies Team (having started as a group of 11 and 12 year olds in 1975). Joining them at the table were the Obsession group (Tony Foti, Carey Lasuik and Nick Atkinson) and the Terminators tandem of Dale and Marion Newsham, all very successful in their own right.
The basic theory behind the establishment of such an organization wasn’t unique; in fact, it is common in many sports. Neither was this new to the Holenski’s, as a similar idea had been spawned a decade earlier when their junior team became a working affiliate to the original Smitty’s team formed in 1979 by Neil Bordelay, former manager of the great Doc’s Blues team out of British Columbia.
In the mid to late 1980’s, Smitty’s, Obsession and the Terminators had a rather informal working relationship. However, they shared a common interest in the development of players and fielding strong teams. In Manitoba at this time, teams operated at the whim of individuals who had taken it upon themselves to operate a team at the level of their choice. Consequently, the continued operation of most elite teams had been dependent upon the continued interest, perseverance and financing by individuals.
The parameters and standards for this new program were set to form an elite softball association. Smitty’s, under the auspices of the Holenski’s, began the operation of at least one “A” level team in each category of play. Quality coaches were solicited, teams were formed, and together the coaches operated as Smitty’s teams do today; independently, but cooperatively. While the Holenski’s continued to pursue sponsorship negotiations on behalf of the teams, major fundraising activities became the responsibilty of each team, depending on their needs.
The purpose of the organization was, and is, to:
- provide stability and continuity;
- develop skills and provide the highest possible level of play, affording players the opportunity to rise to the next level; and
- provide a very important feeder system whereby players can move within its framework.