By Lyle Carter
Tammy Farnell, the daughter of outstanding softball player and former Brookfield Elk Richard Farnell, had an interesting week meeting NHL celebrities.
Just days after meeting Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins, Farnell found herself in good company with two other Nova Scotia-bred players at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
"I guess you could say I was on a roll," Tammy, an agent for Delta Airlines, said. "Sidney Crosby, of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nathan MacKinnon, of the Colorado Avalanche, were checking in Sunday at the counter for their flight. We had the chance to have our photo taken together at the gate. I was extremely thrilled and almost star struck when I realized who was standing in front of me."
Regarding Marchand, Farnell said she was thrilled to meet the forward from Hammonds Plains.
"Brad Marchand came through to board on Friday," Tammy recalled. "I was almost childlike when I looked up and saw him. Brad was one of my favourite Halifax Mooseheads. Of course, he now plays for Boston Bruins, my favourite NHL team. Brad surprised me the most, as you hear bad rumours concerning him. But Brad couldn't have been any kinder when we had our photo taken. Brad was a very gracious young man."
Richard Farnell played senior A softball for the Elks in 1975. Richard and his wife Valerie lived in Brookfield at the time and their son Todd was four and Tammy was two.
Richard, an outstanding catcher with tremendous desire, helped the Elks win Nova Scotia and Maritime senior A softball championships that season.
Also starring for many seasons with Musquodoboit Marquis of the Colchester Major Softball League, Richard was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease in 2006 and passed away in February 2009.
This past week was the first time Tammy and I had spoken since her father's funeral.
Some great Marquis teammates of Richard's were recalled with names such as Charlie Gladwin, Robert (Timber) McKeen, Daryl Wright, Doug Ransom, Murray Farnell (playing coach) Greg Farnell, Vic Preeper and others resurfacing.
Tammy, who lives in Elmsdale, has a 12-year-old son, Garrett Surette, who is an up-and-coming athlete.
"Garrett plays shortstop in ball for the Shuby Lions," Tammy said. "In hockey, he plays for the East Hants Penguins. Garrett leaves this week for Portland, Maine to play with Nova Scotia Young Guns elite peewee hockey team. I'd have to say Garrett has a lot of dad's (Richard's) qualities, both on the ball field and on the ice."
Coby Crowell said he will remember the Canadian under-18 fastpitch championship for many years to come.
In recent play in Gander, N.L., Crowell, a member of the Brookfield Elks, was named all-Canadian centre-fielder. Finishing with an outstanding batting average of .433, Crowell pounded out 13 base hits, including two triples and one double.
Before discussing his personal play, Crowell was quick to credit teammates.
"For having a young team we made a good showing, finishing with a 3-5 record to advance to (the playoffs)," Crowell said. "We did everything we could to win. The team was well spirited all week. I felt we competed with every team there."
Crowell then commented on being named to the Canadian all-star team.
"This is the biggest award I ever received. I had no idea up to the awards presentation. It's really hard to put in words how I felt. It's taken awhile for it to sink in. I'm certainly very appreciative."
Elks coach Jeremy Locke had kind words for his centre-fielder.
"Coby is a real good ball player. He works hard at every practice and he come's to games ready to play. His outstanding effort showed at the recent nationals."
Locke also complimented his team.
"We are a young team, but as we went along in this national tournament we learned a lot. It was a good experience for these teenage ball players. This tournament will be good to build on. Another year and I feel we'll have a good chance to win at nationals."
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.