#9 Terry Challis
Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? - Clarence the Angel from, "It's a Wonderful Life".
Our Stars of the Week have highlighted the accomplishments, achievements and contributions to the sport of fastball by those who are involved either directly or indirectly to the Scout Shootout. This week's Star of the Week has left an indelible mark on the sporting life of many young athletes by his selfless devotion to providing an environment where so many kids had an opportunity to have fun, play sports and just have, "A place to play".
To honour a man whose life has touched so many other lives we bestow the honour of this week's Scout Shootout's Star of the Week to Harvey Bronstine.
Terry played school level fastpitch at Amesbury Park, a hotbed of fastpitch ball in the 70's and 80's, but dropped it in favour of football, only to rejoin in the mid 1980's, joining a work team that led him to playing in the Richmond Hill League for Save-On alongside Mark Benadahan. Terry began as a shortstop and second baseman, only to move to the outfield as a center fielder and later left fielder when he joined the storied Gator franchise in the early 1990's. Playing left field beside Brian Paton on the Gators led to a deadly and feared outfield tandem, as the Gators morphed from the York Merchants to the York Gators and finally to the Toronto Gators. The York Gators team coupled great pitching with balanced and explosive hitting from Mark Bendahan, John Kemp, Roddy Wetherell, Bobby Green and Rob Watson. Terry's strong arm and compact but powerful batting stroke complimented the lineup everywhere he batted. Strategically putting Terry into the 9th spot in the lineup for the '93 Gators was a stroke of genius engineered by Gators chief Jack Fireman, as Terry helped the Gators win the first ever ISC Championship for a Canadian team, and his clutch hitting led him to capture the MVP honours for the entire tournament as he banged out extra base hits to beat National Health Care to win the championship. Terry cites the team chemistry as the single biggest reason the team captured the championship as each player was dedicated to winning the tournament as a team, with the friendships and camaraderie being the lasting legacy as the players remain close friends to this day, reuniting in Italy in 2013 to win Gold at the World Masters Championships.
Terry considers Darren Zack to be the most dominating pitcher he has ever played with as he mixed power with a devastating change-up and endurance. As a hitter, Terry has tremendous regard for John Kemp, for his great two way play and his consistent hitting, along with the double play combination of Adam Smith and Chris Jones.
For Terry the game has changed over the past 25 years, as the technology of the bats has modified swings and delivered more power, leading to higher scoring games with a premium on hitting whereas the pitching and defense had carried the day in years past.
The rivalries are seemingly muted as players now interchange on teams from year to year, leading to opponents becoming teammates and greater respect for the game and the players in it. What remains constant for Terry is the commitment to training and preparedness. "You have to be ready for one big throw in a game, so you better be ready". The same applies for hitting. Your name in the lineup may lead you to an at bat a key time in the game - you better be ready.
While the love of the game remains strong and the accomplishments are many, including a coming induction to the Canadian Fastpitch Hall of Fame, for Terry it is the friendships and relationships that mean the most to him. Reliving the memories, creating new ones and knowing that along the journey he has made some of his best friends from fastpitch ball. Cherished among those is the lasting friendship he has with Roddy Wetherell his friend, outfield partner and roommate who has a special talent of bringing humour to ease and relax his teammates and blending it with focus and drive to bring the most out of his game and the games of his teammates.
Terry remains humble in his accomplishments on the field, with a resume of success that speaks to the quality of his talent, drive and uncanny ability to deliver when needed the most. A great teammate and friend who is most deserving of this weeks Star of the Week.