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I couldn’t tell you the name of a single player on the Vancouver Canadians, (I’ll leave the sports trivia to our associate editor) but I’ve got a nomination for team MVP anyways: the grounds crew who dance on the diamond in between innings (when they’re done sweeping up, of course).
I’m not the only one who’s a fan of these coordinated cleaners. “People used to say, ‘I wish I could take batting practice,’ but now I hear from everybody that they want to run as Chef Wasabi or dance with our grounds crew,” says C’s president Andy Dunn.
Dunn is the kind of guy who gives the fans what they want, so this summer, the C’s are offering the general public the opportunity to dance like everybody’s watching, with auditions happening as part of Super Saturday on May 11. (“I wanted to create the coolest summer job in Vancouver,” he says.)
The pre-season day-at-the-park is an annual tradition at Nat Bailey Stadium—a chance to go pick up your seasons pass, buy single-game tickets or sign up for the kids’ club. Traditionally, it’s also been Vancouverites’ chance to audition to sing the national anthem, but this year, you’ll also have the option to try out for the dance crew.
The dancing tradition started over 10 years ago, with routines coordinated by a choreographer who was married to one of the groundkeepers. “The first night they had to go out, the head groundskeeper was throwing up he was so nervous,” recalls Dunn. “But after two weeks, you would’ve thought these guys wanted a SAG card.”
Today, local dance companies come out once a week to teach the gang a new routine. Any given year, the groundskeepers will have 15 to 20 active routines in their arsenal. “Big anthems are a fave—the fun singalong songs people get into,” says Dunn. “No one expects ’em to be that good, but you cant be that bad.”
If you’re ready for the challenge, just arrive to Nat Bailey between noon and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday for a quick primer from C’s dance lead Lori Stankiewicz and then shake it off to Taylor Swift and cross your fingers you impress. Don’t overthink it, though; Dunn emphasizes how little skill is required for this. “Just come out, have fun and show some personality. Don’t worry about the dancing. If the choreographers can teach the grounds crew, you can do it. If you can walk and chew gum, you can do it.”
Should you win, you haven’t landed a full-time gig, but you will be invited to dance a few nights a year with the crew. More importantly, you’ll be part of a proud minor league tradition of between-inning nonsense that, honestly, is the only reason I go to games. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be practicing my sprints in case they finally open up auditions for the mascot race next year. (Help a girl out, Andy!)
Super Saturday at Nat Bailey StadiumMay 11, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Dance crew auditions begin at 12 p.m.