By Cecil Wright
The first thing a person notices when Scott Sturgeon comes into view is his tremendous height. 6’10” makes an immediate impression, especially when he needs to dip his head when he enters or vacates rooms made specifically for us mere mortals.
I first met Scott in 1995 when he was trying out for the Dalhousie University baseball team of which I was a coach. He must have thought I was crazy because I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he loped around during our drills and calisthenics.
It’s not often that a baseball coach would have a player blessed with such outstanding length combined with, what I would come to find out, talent and ability. However, the first thing I would quickly learn about him was his wit and sense of humour.
“Please tell me you’re a first baseman” I said as he grabbed a bat for batting practice. He flashed me a wry smile and answered with “Shortstop”. I was thinking this would cause a problem since we already had Craig Higgins, from Truro, penciled in as not only the shortstop, but as our number three hitter in the lineup.
As well, I had Sackville native, Brian Clarke, who would move to short whenever Higgins pitched, which would be on a regular basis with his prized right arm.
So, you can imagine my relief when we started our first round of infield practice and Sturgeon grabbed his trapper and jogged out to first base. My first thought was that somehow, I was going to pay him back for those few moments of palpitations, but I quickly found out that he was a gentle giant who constantly had a smile and a tease ready for all his teammates too.
I also came to find that Scott was a solid player. He was surprisingly agile around the bag in addition to being a solid presence in the middle of the Tiger lineup, and was an intimidating, fireballing, right-handed pitcher who could start and/or close for us.
That’s when I became aware that he was also the ultimate teammate. When I asked him if he had a preference, his words to me were “Whatever you need me to do Coach, I’ll do it.”
Suffice to say that he was my starting first baseman, took a spot in the pitching rotation, and was a sometimes closer in the bullpen.
When Dal won the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association title in 1996, Sturgeon’s versatility was on full display. He took the ball from fellow Sackville native and righthander, Trevor Wamback, who himself had been sensational in the tournament, and fired the final inning in relief as the Tigers upset the hosts, Brock University, 8-3.
When asked about his memories of that tournament, Sturgeon said “I remember the excitement of playing somewhere else against other competition. It gave us a chance to see how we stacked up against them, how we measured up versus the other teams on a national level. I recall the level of organization from the teams from central Canada. All that aside, at the end of the day we were all a bunch of guys with a similar interest in baseball. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to play the game that we all grew up loving”.
When I reminded him that he was selected as the top hitter in the tournament, he chuckled in stating “I remember probably the most exciting hit for me, a glory days home run that had our whole team jumping around like crazy.”
Sturgeon was reminiscing about a monstrous 400-foot moonshot he crushed against the defending champion, Laval Rouge et Or. That two-run smash was the difference as the Tigers opened the tournament with the upset, comefrom-behind, 4-3 win led by Sturgeon’s bat and Wamback’s talented right arm, as he went the distance and fanned the first eight batters he faced.
Sackville was proudly represented on that team. “I played with or against the other Sackville guys like Wamback, Chris Sperdakes, a solid infielder. Pat O’Leary, a bulldog of a pitcher, Brian Clarke, and Devon Covey. We were fortunate to be able to create lasting friendships, all from the love of the game. In fact, I still see Wamback and Sperdakes on occasion.
Five Tigers represented the squad on the All-Star team, outfielder and leadoff man, Jason Irvine, Clarke, Higgins, Wamback and Sturgeon. For good measure, Sturgeon was named the tournament’s top hitter, while Wamback was selected as the tournament’s top pitcher.
In my somewhat biased opinion, that was still one of the, if not the most talented university baseball teams to ever represent Atlantic Canada. With a standout pitching staff of Wamback, Craig Higgins, Sturgeon, Pat O’Leary, Brian Clarke, and Matt Christian, as well as a powerful lineup with Irvine, Clarke, Higgins, Sturgeon, Shawn Woodworth, Craig Cooper, Kevin Abriel and Ian Bower, the Tigers were a confident bunch regardless of the opponent.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Sturgeon has put that quick wit to use in his career as an Emergency Medical Technician as he and his colleagues go about their daily routines of regularly helping to save lives. He was a friendly face for me when I bumped into him when my Mom had some health issues. One of those colleagues, a fellow EMT is his wife, Maureen. Sturgeon states that “it’s been just over 21 years and I was told not to woo someone from your own school, but I’m quite fortunate in that regard.”
In 2013 Maureen created a travel agency named The Travel Hut, where Scott, who is also an accredited travel agent, helps with the business. He quickly says that, though he is a travel agent, “Maureen is the key who has her fingers in the many different aspects of the travel business.”
I suggest that if you’re looking for some travel advice and information on some potentially great travel opportunities to exotic locations, contact Maureen or Scott at www.thetravelhut.ca Take my word for it, he’ll do whatever it takes to ensure your enjoyment.