SWEET REMEMBERED THROUGH GAME HE LOVED
VERNON - Some people commemorate loved ones with plaques on park benches or by planting trees in their memory. Others play ball.
Friends and family of Jamie Sweet, who died Oct. 17, 2013 at age 30, will convene at Vernon’s DND grounds at the end of April for the second annual ball tournament in the avid player’s honour. Proceeds are expected to go towards a sports scholarship at Clarence Fulton Secondary where he graduated.
Sweet was a natural ball player. As a toddler, he spent countless hours in a play pen behind the backstop while his mom played ball.
“I was a single mom for the first eight years of his life,” Shelley Isaac says. “It was me and him against the world.”
When he was old enough to swing a bat, his aunt gave him a glove and taught him to play. It was the beginning of a life-long passion. He played for fun throughout elementary and high school and joined a softball league after he graduated.
“He was always smiling on the ball field,” recalls friend Jaimie Waight. "Jamie was all about fun. This (tournament) is what he would have wanted."
She wasn’t on the Fire Balls or Mud Cats, the two teams he played with. She competed against him at local tournaments, and got to know him over their years on the same circuit. While they were never close friends, Waight was deeply saddened by his death and felt compelled to help organize the tournament. Sweet had a way of making impressions on people, the full extent of which wasn’t clear until after he died.
“His memorial service was packed. People were lined up out the doors. There were just so many people he’d affected in the community,” Waight says.
Sweet is survived by four siblings and his two kids, aged seven and ten. Not long before he died, he fell in love with the girl of his dreams, a ball player like his mom.
“He came to me when they first got together with a twinkle in his eye and said ‘I think she’s the one,’” Isaac says.
Sweet was at a friend’s house when he lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital where he would be kept on life support for a painful six days. Friends, family, and even Sweet’s ex-girlfriends came to watch over him during that agonizing week.
“I don’t think there was ever less than 50 people in the waiting room,” Isaac says.
The family has chosen to keep the full circumstances of his death private.
At times, friends and family feel like he’s still here. His presence was felt at the inaugural ball tournament, held just a month after his death to raise funds for the family.
“Everybody said it felt like Jamie was there looking down over us,” Waight says. “Like he was there helping you catch the ball.”
Waight is encouraging softball teams of all levels to register for the tournament, set for April 26-27.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call 250-309-5230.