YARMOUTH – When it comes to sports in a community, there is no greater need than volunteers. And when it comes to baseball in Yarmouth, volunteers Mark and Angela Nickerson are as great as you can get.
That’s certainly what the Yarmouth Area Minor Baseball Association (YAMBA) thinks, and Baseball Nova Scotia agrees. After receiving a nomination from the local association, Baseball Nova Scotia awarded the couple its Volunteer of the Year Award.
“For the past few years, Mark and Angela have been the backbone of Yarmouth area minor baseball,” the YAMBA nomination had read. “Their dedication to the sport is unmatched.”
In the nomination submitted on behalf of the association by president Aaron Sweeney, he pointed out that Mark – who has coached throughout the years – this past season coached a bantam baseball team, and not even the one his son Max was playing on. He was also responsible for all of the coaches within the association.
Angela was in charge of the equipment for all of the divisions, including uniforms, which involved a lot of searching, collecting, sizing, ordering and pricing – all above the initial scope of the position said Sweeney.
“Mark ran the canteen at Mariners Field and had it set up so that any group could go in and with a turn-key operation, make money for their team,” added Sweeney.
“Mark and Angela put the community first and continue to do so,” he said.
Like when Mark decided he wanted to pursue the installation of an electronic scoreboard at the Mariners Field in Yarmouth. His thinking was two-fold. People and players would get to experience and enjoy the game even more by being able to keep track of the inning, score and pitch counts without having to constantly ask those around them for this information. An electronic board, he felt, would also bring the big-league feel to a sport being played in a small community.
It was an expensive venture, but he wasn’t deterred. He established the Herman Allen Nickerson Society in honour of his father and brother, who were both high profile baseball players in the area years ago. The plan was for this society to raise money for the scoreboard. Mark researched boards and collected quotes from community member suppliers for its installation.
“Mark had two softball tournaments, beer gardens, dances, as well as many canteens in the area to raise funds,” said Sweeney. “Along with some funding, combined with the work Mark and Angela did at the National Oldtimers Baseball tournament (in 2015) where they organized canteens at four different ballfields during the tournament, Mark was able to get the scoreboard installed this July at Mariners Field.”
Also through the Nickersons’ work with the canteens at last year’s National Oldtimers Baseball tournament, YAMBA was able to secure a sponsorship partnership with Scotiabank bringing in $10,000 to the association for its ball activities.
“Without the generous help of these two individuals, Yarmouth Area Minor Baseball would not be in the place it is today,” Sweeney said in the nomination letter. “We think that we are moving in the right direction, and we thank Mark and Angela for their help.”
For their part, the Nickersons say they volunteer with minor baseball so that the sport can keep going and growing. There is a lot of talent in the area, they say, and they want to see enrolment numbers continue to grow.
The Nickersons were presented with their award from Baseball Nova Scotia at a banquet on Oct. 22.