Cliff Lane

Volunteer of the Year 2013 - Softball
Dean Bauck

Cliff Lane, a North Delta resident for over three decades, is a more than worthy recipient of this honour. He has devoted countless hours over the years to girls fastpitch in North Delta. He spent an extended period of time on the North Delta Softball Association executive and even longer as a coach within the organization. Cliff began his tenure on the executive as the Head Coach of the NDSA, followed by six years as either President or Past President. Cliff was always there volunteering his service. Whether it was serving as a tournament director, readying the fields, arranging for supplies, or performing a myriad of other odd jobs, Cliff was voluntarily contributing. In the mid 1980s, Cliff began helping coach a team of 10 and 11 year old girls. Almost 20 years later, Cliff’s coaching career continues. In the early 1990s he helped establish a competitive Rep B team. The players chose the name Sunfire. As a tribute to this original team, the North Delta executive decided to name all subsequent teams within the Rep B program Sunfire. From the early years, Cliff helped coach the Sunfire to numerous on-field successes. Their resume included provincial championship appearances at the Squirt, Bantam and Midget levels. There were also trips to Western Canadian championships at Bantam, Midget and Senior Women. The 2006 team was the BC Senior Women’s champion who represented the province at the Canadian National Championships. The 2006 team was recognized as the Softball BC Team of the Year. The team was involved in two rewarding international experiences. In 2009 the Sunfire donned the red and white of Canada for the World Games in Taiwan. Before 44,000 spectators at the opening ceremonies, the girls competed against many of the top countries in the world. Although narrowly failing to qualify for the medal rounds, the competitive and cultural experience created lifetime memories for the players! Some even said ôit was the best days of my lifeö. This incredible opportunity was followed by a 2011 goodwill trip to Peru. Under the inspirational leadership of the coaches, the team gathered over a ton of ball gear and softball clothing which they distributed to the Peruvian youth. Not only did they capture a tournament title, but they gave back to the game by putting on a number of softball clinics. But Cliff’s contributions cannot just be measured in terms of the longevity or victories. Coming from a highly competitive hockey background, it took a while but he learned that teaching life lessons was just as important as teaching the game itself. With this in mind he has made a positive impact on the lives of his players. As a testament to this, over half of the original team members played at least 15 years with the Sunfire. This just does not happen unless the adult leadership is focused on building positive relationships, providing the opportunities for each player to grow personally and to create lasting memories for themselves. In 2002, Cliff was named one of the 3M Coaches of the Year, and last year he received a Community Sport Champions Award from Sport BC.