By Stephen Dafoe
Gibbons – Being 71 hasn’t slowed Gibbons Mayor Bill Nimmo down in his desire to hold public office or his desire to play ball. And although the ten-term politician had no competitors during this municipal election cycle, he’ll be facing plenty of them south of the border in a softball tournament. The long-time baseball enthusiast left for St. George, Utah Thursday morning to compete in the Huntsman World Senior Games, an event that will attract thousands of athletes aged 65 and older to compete in a wide range of sports and athletic events.
For Nimmo, who plays for the Dynasty Relics, a 70-plus team in a 65-plus league in St. Albert, the trip to the Huntsman games is this third outing.
“The first year I started playing, I couldn’t go because it was an election year,” Nimmo said, noting he’s been to the games twice previously – once as a 65-plus player and once as a 70-plus player. “There’s actually several teams from here go, and I think there’s 350 softball teams in those games.”
Nimmo said there are more than 10,000 participants registered to play baseball and the many other sports the senior games include. The mayor said his world games team will be made up of many of the men he plays with in St. Albert plus a couple of players from Medicine Hat.
“I love to play,” Nimmo said of baseball. “I just grew up playing it. Not baseball. We never had baseball as a kid. We had fastball. When we were kids, if there was two guys and a stick we were doing something with it and we played a little of school. When I was 14, I was playing on the men’s team and we had a six or seven team league there.”
Nimmo said when TV came in, baseball died off a bit in his home of Gibson’s Landing, BC, but by the late 1960s there was a resurgence that has continued to this day, as far as he knows. But Nimmo continued to play competitive ball up until he had kids of his own, shifting his attention to following their game play in hockey and soccer, win or lose.
Although Nimmo is hoping his team, the St. Albert Seventies do well in St. George, winning isn’t the only thing on his mind.
“Some guys talk about teams coming where they’ve actually got sponsors paying their whole shot to go there,” he said, noting those teams often cease to exist if they fail to win big. “Winning is pretty high on the hog for some people.”
For Nimmo, the attraction to baseball is a love of the game and the social aspects of the sport.
“I get a lot of enjoyment out of it,” he said. “It’s a good people thing. If you’ve got the right people, it’s fun. Half the fun is the camaraderie of it. I only played on one team that had a guy that was a real jerk.”
Depending on how well Nimmo’s team does, he anticipates being finished around Oct. 15, after which he and his wife will travel to Phoenix, Arizona to see family who retired there.
In his absence, Deputy Mayor George Fraser will take a crack at bat heading up Gibbons Town Council.