Langdon resident Regan Turner recently hosted a softball tournament to raise funds for Calgary-based non-profit, the Centre For Suicide Prevention.
The tournament, held two weeks before Suicide Prevention day, was in memory of Turner’s brother Adam, who lost his life seven years ago to suicide.
“It’s been seven years since I lost my brother and I still miss him every single day,” Turner said.
Approaching what would have been Adam’s 40th birthday, Turner wanted to commemorate her brother’s memory in a special way, which is how she came up with the idea of putting on a baseball tournament. The tournament was hosted the weekend before his birthday on Aug. 20 and 21.
“What better way to start off a new decade [by] starting an annual ball tournament that’s going to promote men's mental awareness and suicide awareness?” Turner said.
As kids, Turner said the siblings spent much of their time in the sun playing baseball games together and they kept the tradition going into adulthood when they transitioned to softball.
When contemplating how she could remember her brother, hosting a softball tournament was an easy decision for Turner.
“One thing we would always yell at each other on the field was ‘do better, Turner!” she said with a chuckle, adding “Do better!” quickly became the slogan for the inaugural tournament.
The weekend-long softball tourney featured five teams, with the first- and second-place teams receiving prizes that were donated by local Langdon businesses. Prizes consisted of gift cards for Langdon Firehouse Bar and Grill and Langdon Lounge, as well as pet items supplied by Langdon Pet Co. Meanwhile, local storefront Above the Clouds donated toques, beef jerky, gift cards, and Pampered Chef items.
Each team paid an entrance fee of $600, and all the proceeds went directly to the Centre For Suicide Prevention.
Additionally, the field hosted a beer garden and a donation bucket. Between all three channels, Turner said the tournament raised nearly $5,000 for the centre, to whom she will present the funds on Sept. 9.
To further commemorate Adam’s memory, Turner made a booklet of special rules for the tourney inspired by her brother’s spirited personality and personal quirks.
“We had some special rules that were thrown in there…kind of the ‘Turner Do Better Rules’ and they were based off some stories of Adam growing up,” Turner explained.
One of the rules involved playing softball in a Speedo or bathing suit. The inspiration behind the rule, according to Turner, her brother could often be found running around in a red Speedo throughout the summertime.
“We made a rule that if anyone was willing to wear a red Speedo or play in a bathing suit, that you would get three mulligans per game,” she said.
Turner explained that a mulligan provided batters with a do-over if the batter was unsatisfied with their hit.
“You would yell out ‘Turner’ and you got another chance to bat again. It was really quite fun, and I’ve never heard my last name called so many times,” she added, with a laugh.
Although the tournament was a fun celebration, Turner made sure there was also time for serious discussions regarding mental health. There was a plethora of information on mental health resources and the support available for anyone who is struggling.
“It really opened up a dialogue to ensure that you’re not alone and that you can talk to someone,” Turner said.
Additionally, one hour of the tournament was committed strictly to sharing stories about Adam and for others to talk about the loved ones they have lost to suicide.
“There were quite a few players who had lost a sibling, cousin, father, etc. and this was an important event for them to attend,” Turner added. “When Adam died, it was like it was a shameful thing to talk about. No one wanted to talk about suicide or that my brother took his own life.”
For Turner, talking about her brother and suicide prevention has been a way to help heal. She is hoping that by sharing her family's story, other grieving individuals are able to find comfort and support.
“If I can talk about it, then others might feel open to talk about it as well,” she said. “Those of us who are left behind, there are a lot of unanswered questions, guilt, anger but if we don’t talk about it then how can we heal or educate others on things to look for?”
Next year, she is hoping to see 20 teams playing in the tournament.
“My brother would have absolutely loved it,” she said.