Cat Lake receives Jays Care Foundation donation
Tyllore Martelle - Staff Writer
Cat Lake First Nation was first established as a trading post in the early 1700s and was later established as a reserve in 1970. The population of Cat Lake sits at 600 and is surrounded by the bodies of water that flow into five major Ontario rivers.
This summer a Cat Lake athlete attended the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto. Lance Oombash, a 16 year old baseball player attended the games. In a short film broadcast by SportsNet, it was revealed that the game of baseball is very popular on the reserve. Games of baseball are said to often take place from early in the morning until the evening.
Currently the Cat Lake baseball field is filled with holes, bumps, and weeds, but the players don’t let that stop them.
Joyce Wesley-Peters, a community mentor commented positively on Oombash’s baseball skills. “Lance has so much talent when you see him on the field.” Wesley-Peters also accompanied Oombash on the 27 hour trip to Toronto for the games.
Cat Lake Chief Ernie Wesley said, “It’s made me so proud as a Chief of this First Nation,” regarding Oombash’s attendance at the games. Baseball has given Oombash something to strive toward for his future.
Unfortunately, early in the games, Oombash suffered a hip injury that kept him from playing.
The Jays Care Foundation recently donated $150,000 to Cat Lake through their Field of Dreams program for the construction of a new ball field. The Jays Care Foundation is set up to increase skills, available resources, improve infrastructure, increase the number of high quality programs, increase the number of accessible play spaces, enhance life skills, increase the level of physical activity, and increase abilities to use life skills and change lives.
The Field of Dreams program provides funding to enhance and build safe spaces for children to play baseball, develop life skills, and learn from positive role models.
The construction of the new ball field in Cat Lake is set to begin next summer. Rogers created a short video on Oombash’s journey to the games as well as a summary of baseball in Cat Lake. To view the video, follow the link to http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/lance-oombash-overcame-rough-start-baseball-representative-cat-lake/.