Tournament players rally for Smith at ball diamonds
As Craig Smith sits under the pavilion at the Minden baseball diamonds, surrounded by tournaments being played in part to raise funds for him during his recovery from a construction accident in August, he is inundated with help from his friends, family and community to ensure his comfort.
Does he want tea? A blanket? A different blanket? A portable heater faced in his direction? A shoulder massage?
He patiently declines most of the kindhearted support, comfortable to watch the games going on and be there to offer assistance to those who are organizing the tournament instead of him this year.
“Last year we ran a fundraiser on the first of October,” he said. “We ran a ball tournament and raised over ten grand for a person. This year we were going to do it again for somebody else. [It ended up being for me.] Next year it’ll be for somebody else.”
Craig is used to being one half of the team, alongside his wife Tammy, who quickly jump into action to help community members through whatever challenges might face them.
This time, he’s the one being supported, after he lost his balance, fell from a window, rolled down a roof and hit the ground about 20 feet below on Aug. 22. He was airlifted from Minden hospital to Sunnybrook with a broken pelvis, three broken vertebras in his back, a hole in his bladder and internal bleeding alongside other minor injuries.
“I’m doing OK, I guess,” he said. “Day by day. It’s good to be out here for sure.”
At home, Craig is still organizing minor hockey tournaments as he recovers, with his mom visiting in the morning and his mother-in-law visiting in the afternoon while his son, Owen, visits between classes to keep him company throughout the day.
“It feels good to get my mind off of stuff,” he said.
He’s also kept busy at therapy in Haliburton, twice a week. He said he’s been able to start bearing weight on his legs more.
“They said I should be walking by Christmas, that’s my goal,” he said. “I’m going to beat that probably, right? I’m definitely going to be way ahead of that.”
Finding shortfalls in accessibility has been frustrating to Craig, who is using a smaller wheelchair to be able to move more easily in his house.
“Some days it’s pretty rough, but I’m getting through it,” he said. “I’m going to be 100 per cent.”
Craig thanked Cheryl and Mike Hamilton for organizing the baseball tournaments and making sure everything went well, as well as Elaine and Howard Smith, Larry and Donelda Smith, Brain and Celina Smith, Gary and Jackie Smith, Kirk Smith and Heather McKelvey, Brian Burke and others that helped at the barbecue. He thanked Mary McKelvey and Linda Schrader for arranging a huge baked goods table at the tournament, as well as all those who helped fill it. Freda Cox he thanked for behind-the-scenes work, and also all ball players – 21 teams came out to play in the cold October weather – and umpires, and everyone who donated.
In total, the tournaments raised more than $9,000 for the Smith family.