FORT ST. JAMES – local athlete Shayne Forshner just recently finished playing men’s softball for Team BC. Our homegrown hero was in Winnipeg the last couple of weeks for the 2017 Canada Games where British Columbia won a record 146 medals – the most ever earned by B.C. at the biannual national summer multi-sport competition.
Of the 15 athletes in the men’s softball team seven were from the north; one athlete (Shayne) from Fort St. James, two athletes from Burns Lake, one from Smithers and three from Prince George. The rest were from the lower mainland. The two men’s softball coaches were from Port Alberni and Victoria.
The last medal of the Games was the one that broke Team BC’s previous record of 145 medals and was a gold won by the women’s softball team on Sunday just prior to the Closing Ceremony. This medal was also a fourth consecutive gold medal for Team BC women’s softball at the Canada Summer Games.
The BC men’s softball team didn’t do as well as the ladies, but they still managed victories against New Brunswick and Manitoba and close matches against Quebec, Novia Scotia and Prince Edward Island and Alberta, but that’s okay because Women’s Softball won their fourth consecutive Canada Summer Games gold medal against Team Alberta.
After two amazing weeks of celebrating excellence in sport, the 2017 Canada Summer Games closed with a closing ceremony titled “Grand Summer Party”, it celebrated both the Canada Games 50th anniversary and Canada 150.
The Team BC women’s softball team was awarded their gold medals by the Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable David Johnston.
“I’m thankful for the experience. It was an honour to be chosen to represent the province on Team BC and I’m proud to be from Fort St. James,” says Shayne Forshner.
How long have you been playing softball?
Three years. I haven’t played very long at all. Everyone else in the team has played their whole lives.
How did you get into the sport?
My friends played, just a team a couple young kids made, the Nk’azdli team. It looked fun so I joined in. I was playing here then I started playing for the men’s teams. Then I moved to Kelowna this year to play for the Westbank Cardinals; the Kelowna men’s senior A team. I’d seen a thing on the internet for the Team BC open trials and I went. One was in Prince George and one was in Surrey in the spring. That’s how I got onto Team BC.
Did you get to practice with your BC team before the Games?
No we just got together for two days in Vancouver on our way to Winnipeg.
How did your team do?
Not well. We played nine games and only won two.
What would you say has been a highlight for you?
It was a pretty amazing experience. Meeting everyone. Meeting people from around Canada. I knew a couple people on the team. I played hockey against two kids from Burns Lake and two from Prince George. They were also hockey players.
Which position do you play?
I play everywhere, not set in one spot.
Do you have any play in the game you’re particularly good at?
I’m good at everything.
What’s the difference between softball and baseball?
Softball’s way faster. Baseball is really slow.
How is it faster?
The bases are closer together. The field is smaller. A baseball field is 400 something ft and a softball field is 250 ft. And the ball is bigger, about the size of an orange. And the bat isn’t wood it’s a composite.
How often do you play with your team? How often do you practice?
We just play tournaments, twice a month. We don’t practice we just play.
You’re a famous athlete now. Do the guys treat you differently?
No, still the same.
Do you still play hockey?
No, I just do softball now for fun. I’m done hockey, I’m too old. I started playing when I was six and I played for the Fort St. James and I played a lot of Native hockey. I played lots of AAA hockey, travelled all over. But I quit hockey after school.
What’s next for you? Do you think you’ll go on to coach softball?
I’m not sure. I’m done for the year. There’s one more tournament for the year. The Nak’azdli tournament. But I actually play for Takla Lakers.
Will you go to trials again next time?
No. I’m 20, I’ll be 21 on September 5th. You have to be 21 and under for the Canada Games and they only come around every 2 years, so I’m too old.
Where are you working?
I work for Newlands Enterprises driving equipment loading logs.
How long have you been with them?
It’s my 4th year, I started working right out of school.
– with files from press release www.teambc.org