Springdale celebrates Central Summer Games title for first time in 15 years

Published on August 24, 2017

SPRINGDALE, NL — Many of the Springdale athletes who helped the team to the overall title at the 2017 Central Summer Games in Grand Falls-Windsor last week were not even born the last time it happened.  

Even those who were born 15 years ago would have been barely old enough to walk or crawl.

It was kind of shocking because it hasn’t been done in a long, long time. I think it was the result of a lot of teamwork, effort, and the friendships that were put into it.

Megan Paddock, Springdale athlete

The team was spearheaded by a strong female contingent that did not lose a sport in the four-sport competition featuring teams from host Grand Falls-Windsor, Botwood, and Bishop’s Falls. They won championships in soccer, basketball, ball hockey, and softball.

The boys’ teams from Springdale were no pushovers either, capturing a title in boys’ softball, but finishing second in 16-under and 13-under soccer, 16-under and 13-under basketball, and 13-under softball.

For Megan Paddock, it was an especially rewarding experience to clinch the title in her final year of eligibility at the Games.

“It was kind of shocking because it hasn’t been done in a long, long time,” she said. “I think it was the result of a lot of teamwork, effort, and the friendships that were put into it.”

She said it seemed the other towns had lost some key athletes from previous games, whereas Springdale had a complement of athletes returning who excelled because of experience.

The Springdale contingent was greeted home by a motorcade to celebrate the accomplishment.

“It was loud and really fun,” the 15-year-old said.

It was a similar sentiment for Christian Morgan, who was also competing at the games for the final time because of age restrictions.

“We hadn’t won since 2002, so that was a lot of fun,” he said. “To be able to win a couple of the sports for under-16 was really good.

“For me, this was my last year, so it was special knowing this was the last one I was ever going to play. It felt a lot different playing, and I think that’s what made the difference.”

Morgan said the games go beyond the competition on the field.

“It was great, such a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s about catching up with old friends and being able to play sports.”

Shauna Hewlett, Springdale’s director of recreation, tourism and heritage, said it was a major accomplishment to be able to overcome the perennial powerhouse Grand Falls-Windsor. It was the second games for her since assuming the recreation position about a year and a half ago. The town implemented a minor softball program this year for the first time, and she said that proved to be a major difference at the games.

The Springdale contingent is a mixture of seasoned athletes along with some participants whose only experience with sports are the annual Central Summer Games. That makes for an even more special atmosphere, according to Hewlett.

“Our summer coaches who came, they played, and some of the athletes who participated, their parents had played,” she said. “It is a longstanding tradition in Springdale, in Bishop’s Falls, and Botwood. These teams have been coming together and playing against each other for years. There’s camaraderie at the games, but a pride to be able to say we brought the trophy home again.”

Beyond the competitive side of the games, Hewlett said the competition is designed for participation. She said sports are shortened and adapted to create a positive, fun-filled experience. She said the fans, primarily family, are very sports-minded, which helps create a unique environment.

“I have been involved in competitive sports for a long time, but when you see these kids playing these sports out there — with the students coaching too — they are having fun,” she said.