I have been to many PIF tournaments throughout the years, not only as the Old Scout but with teams as a manager, with Jerome and as a fan. I also have been at the old field as well as the new field and I thought I had seen it all, but this 2003 PIF was the biggest and most spectacular event I have ever seen in the game of softball. The softball was very good, the fireworks were gigantic and spectacular but the main attraction a production called the “The Movie Show” which was a video of movies being shown and the songs to the movies being sung by live singers, dancers and lighting performance that I have never seen before, including the many times that I have spent in Las Vegas. I guarantee that you wouldn’t mind spending Forty Dollars to see this show along with the entertainment for the children all weekend long that was provided free from the Pif organization. This is what makes the PIF tournament more than just softball, it is a total festival atmosphere from start to finish. Alesium/Chase/Reece/Shade Restaraunt /Easton was the class of the field , but let me tell you it was not an easy road to the championship. The Easton boys got a big scare in their first game of the tournament as they found themselves trailing by 5 going to the bottom of the seventh. But this experienced team began to hit it and Alex Lavorico ended it with a walk off three run homer. Alex also won the homerun derby Saturday night winning $1,000.00 for his efforts and also was named the tournaments MVP. The Alesium boys struggled hitting again this weekend, but managed to score enough to win the winners bracket and wait to see who would come out to meet them in the finals. Life Scan/ Vacances/ Air Transat whom lost their first game of the tournament and then got it together and began to roll as they won eight in a row to get back to meet the Alesium boys in the finals. Life Scan/Vacances/Air Transat played a great game but ran out of gas and had to settle for second place, but got $5,000.00 travel expense money and a berth to the WSL World’s in Panama City Beach, FL in September. I have said it before and I will say it again, the Canadian teams are getting better and better each year, and believe me they can compete against the A teams from the United States. I don’t say they will win yet, but they will be competitive and my beliefs is that these teams need a little more pop and they will begin to win against these American teams. Third place went to a very good A-B team called Manitoba Legends who came a long way from Winnipeg to play in this one and gave it one hell of a run, but also ran out of gas at the end losing to the Air Transat boys settling for third place. This bunch also beat some other very good teams in their run for third. I am looking forward for this bunch to come to Panama City to play in the A-B World tournament. This team plays very good defense and can slap the ball around and are looking to pick up one more power hitter to go with their squad, and I am sure that they will. Fourth place, went to another very good Quebec team called Pro Cam International. This team and Life Scan/Vacances/Air Transat, another Quebec team have a fierce rivalry going on. When these two meet it is an all out war, and sure enough in their game one of the star players from Life Scan Air Transat Jacque Miller was ejected, but they managed to get the win without him and then went to play the Manitoba team thinking that Jacque could play, but the ruling was he had to set out this game as well and therefore Air Transat boys played the full game without the services of Jacque and again came out the winner in that game, but the Manitoba boys gave it their all. Other teams who did a great job in this tournament are Binbrook Brewers, Beach Walk Family Fitness, Orioles, Lloyd’s Softball, Lebaron/Easton, Monty’s World, National Gold/ DeMarini made up this great 2003 PIF tournament. The tournament was very competitive because the Canadian Association allows the use of Miken and Senergy bats, and the .44 core .375 trump ball was perfect for this years tournament. You may ask why the scores were low and here is why. Even with the use of those bats and the good ball the temperatures were in the high 80’s with very high humidity even at night which helped keep the scores down, because the ball was not flying very well. I do believe if the temps were lower their would have been a lot more runs scored in this tournament. I also want to state that it was a pretty typical PIF tournament with the winds blowing straight in during the day so that also helped keep the scores down. Another thing that helped keep the scores down especially from the American teams who were not used to having a mat at home plate, and that my friends definitely made a difference, naturally the Canadian teams play using the mat. I also overheard an umpire say, no problems umpiring behind the dish in this tournament there will definitely be no arguing in this tournament about balls and strikes. Here’s another thing that helped keep scores down, 80′ bases were used and that is perfect, you get lot’s of double plays and it lets infielders make plays that no way could they make using 65-70 foot bases. Do the math, with the good balls and the good plastic bats the ball gets through the infield too fast and very few double plays are made at all. It’s that simple. I can’t say enough about the 2003 PIF. The PIF staff, Charlie, Claude, Regis, Pierre, Richard and the rest of the folks there did an outstanding job to make this not only a great weekend of softball, but an unbelievable weekend of family fun. Fun for the kids, mothers, fathers, grandparents to be able to watch great softball and have First Class entertainment. There is no question in my mind, this was the best PIF tournament ever. The weather was spectacular, the fireworks were unbelievable and that’s all I will say about this great tournament. I will take nothing away from any other Fourth of July Softball tournament, but if you want a weekend of great softball, entertainment and partying, then there is not a better place to spend the Fourth than the PIF. I would suggest that next year all of you good A and B teams who want to play good competitive softball make your plans to come to the PIF. You won’t regret it I promise! The PIF staff has told me it will be bigger and better in 2004. My wife and I would personally like to thank the PIF staff for a great and exciting weekend of softball and entertainment.