Ashley Black and Sarah Seifried were prepared for the Durham Lords softball doubleheader against Seneca. What they didn’t expect was to become recipients of the Gerry Theriault Memorial Bursary the very same night.
Rosemary Theriault, assistant coach of the Durham Lords women’s softball team, managed to keep the secret under wraps. She brought the parents of both players to the Sept. 26 game, no easy feat because they live outside Durham Region. Theriault then presented each student with a $500 scholarship, a way to honour her late husband, Gerry, who passed away in March, 2017.
Theriault says Gerry was a huge supporter of the team and the game. He volunteered his time and liked all of the sports within the Durham athletics program.
Gerry had cancer and Theriault says when he knew he wouldn’t be able to beat it, he wanted to do something to show his love of the sport, so he came up with the idea of a scholarship. This is the second year the Gerry Theriault Memorial Bursary has been awarded and the first time more than one person has been honoured.
“It honestly means so much to me because I’ve won bursaries in the past but to be able to actually know the person the bursary was from, knowing Gerry, it means so much more to me because I knew him as a person,” says Black, a pitcher and first baseman from Waterloo, in her fourth year on the team.
Theriault narrows down the recipient(s) based on positive attributes Gerry stood for, on and off the field. Then, she and her four children, talk about the recommendations for the scholarship and decide the recipient(s) together.
“For her (Rosemary) to select me and Ashley means a lot because it means she really thought about everyone’s qualities and thought we really deserved it,” says Seifried, a first baseman from Drayton, Ont., near Waterloo.
Theriault says Black is everything Gerry respected in a player, level-headed and respects not only the game, but everybody who plays it.
Theriault says Seifried is a steady person who is always there when needed, with a smile on her face, much like her husband.
“He was there if we needed him to rake the diamond or to do the barbeque,” says Theriault.
Theriault raises the money for the Gerry Theriault Memorial Bursary through golf tournaments. She says his memory lives on through this scholarship.
“He loved the school, he loved what it stood for, he loved the people within the school and he liked the kids on the team,” Theriault says.
Black and Seifried expect to graduate in spring 2019, this is their last softball season.
Black and Seifried weren’t the only winners of the night – Durham won both games against Seneca – 9-2 and 15-0.