How a Vancouver Community Saved its Baseball, Softball
For many around the world, a community is essential to one’s being. A community establishes a sense of camaraderie amongst otherwise strangers. It bonds people for the common good of seeing their community and people flourish. As generations evolve, communities have become less important in many regions–abandoning them altogether in some circumstances.
However, that isn’t the case in Northern Vancouver, British Columbia. The power of its community brought an essential baseball facility back from the brink of closing–helping propel the sport and the region’s athletes to new heights.
Inside Performance Baseball
Wes Taylor is the General Manager at Inside Performance Baseball, a position he’s held since 2012. The prior year, the massive facility was owned by another owner who may have been too ambitious with his endeavor. “His eyes were bigger than his stomach,” Taylor explains of how the ambitious training center closed within a year of opening.
However, Northern Vancouver couldn’t spare to lose a facility of this stature. On top of the “six or seven” little leagues the area has, it also serves as home to high school and a women’s fast pitch teams. Additionally, recreational leagues are a common activity for Vancouver residents.
“All the little leagues use the facility in the offseason. Where would they go? Where would they train if they didn’t have this place to go,” Taylor explained. Not only is that sentiment a driving factor for Inside Performance today. It also was the rallying cry for several parents in the community. Soon, local parents,myself included, banded together to buy the facility back from the bank. Some became active members, with Wes Taylor serving as the pivotal day-to-day figure. Others chose to donate as silent partners. In the end, the group of parents opted to donate the same amount, making this a true communal effort. In 2012, Inside Performance Baseball officially had been revived.
Coming Together for the Community
The local parents came together to support their children as well as the long line of athletic talent in the region. Now in operation for nearly four years, Inside Performance will never be a Fortune 500 company, as Taylor describes. Instead, every dollar earned goes back into the center so it can benefit the athletes in need. “We all have a reason for keeping it going, the main reason being there isn’t another facility like this in the lower mainland of Vancouver,” Taylor explains. “It has to stay open. It’s a priority for us.”
While he doesn’t want to give direct credit to Inside Performance, Taylor has noticed an uptick in baseball and softball sign ups in the years since reviving the facility.
With seasons starting now, Inside Performance heads into its slow season. Winter is where the most business occurs, while the summer is often home to players looking to hone their skills after a rough start as well as the late-to-start-training rec leaguers. Now, Taylor continues to give credit to many community members including Brooks McNiven, Manuel Fonseca, Bill Ireland, Marty Dome, and Blair Peters as some of those that made this all possible for Northern Vancouver’s community.