When you were 22 years old, did you ever dream of travelling the world while doing what you love? Was it for life, for sports, for a career, or simply just because?
A Prince George man is looking to fulfill all of them by packing his bags, along with his fastball glove, and moving to the South Pacific next month in furthering his love of the game.
Nicholas Potskin has chosen to take his talents to New Zealand for a five-month stint starting in November, playing in the country’s capital city of Wellington, when they have their summer season.
In an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters today (Oct. 16), he says this all started with a conversation with opposing players at a tournament this past summer.
“I was playing in Williams Lake and one of the teams we played against was from Parksville; they had a few New Zealand players on the team and it was a really good match between us,” he explained. “After the game was over, you know, we were shaking hands and they mentioned if me coming to New Zealand was something I ever thought of. I thought it was a cool idea, but I never thought much more about that for the rest of the season until it was presented to me at the end of September when I got a message from them.”
The UNBC graduate has played the last two seasons with the Big Guy Lake Kings, a local Indigenous fastball team, which has taken him to events across B.C. and western Canada, including a sixth-place finish at the Canadian Men’s Fastpitch National Championships in Grande Prairie, Alta.
As he continues to prepare for his excursion to New Zealand, Potskin says he’s been told the sport can be even more competitive given its increase in popularity.
“They said the league that I’d be playing in is probably a little bit better than the league we have up here in Prince George. As for the tournaments, it should be pretty similar but I was told, in their league, there’s a pitcher from the New Zealand national fastball team.”
The shortstop is joining the Island Bay Softball Club, a league in rebuild mode in Wellington, but he’s yet to be placed onto a team.
That being said, Potskin explains the Kiwis he’s in contact with are also trying to get him onto a travelling team so he’s able to see more of the Oceania nation.
“The fact that they offered me a place to stay, I think, was good enough for me,” he added. “You know, that’s one of the hardest things to find is a place to stay for five months at little to no cost at all. [...] I just want to get as much experience as I can while I’m young. Thought to myself, I might as well do it while playing fastball. It’s something I really love.”
Potskin, who currently works as a finance clerk for the Tsay Keh Dene Nation, is thankful to his family for giving him full support of his next endeavour in life and sport, giving extra credit to his dad Randy for his success.
“He’s always pushing me, he coached me while I was growing up and he’s taught me everything I know. [...] My dad said he had the opportunity when he was younger to do something like this and he wasn’t able to take it because of his position, but he was in full support of me. I also know some of my relatives played down there a number of years ago, so maybe they’ll recognize my name when I take the field.”
Potskin hops on a plane for Hobbit-land on Wednesday, Nov. 6, a day after his 23rd birthday.
He plans on returning to Prince George in Spring 2020, just in time for another season with the Big Guy Lake Kings.