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TSN anchors shocked by condition of football field

There wasn't much time to rest for Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole during their two-day visit to Estevan last week.
Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole spent the better part of an hour entertaining the crowd prior to Thursday's live broadcast.

There wasn't much time to rest for Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole during their two-day visit to Estevan last week.

Virtually every hour of their time was booked doing something and by the time they left on Thursday evening, the Energy City had made an impression on both SportsCentre anchors.

The first public event for the duo was a clean-up effort at Dana Quewezance Memorial Field on Wednesday morning, along with dozens of local football players and parents.

Both had heard about the damage to the hub of Estevan's football programs, but they were flabbergasted to see it for themselves.

"I was blown away. I thought, 'Okay, they just haven't planted the grass here,' but no, that was all silt that had washed in. You could see the water marks on the fence, you could see it on the light standards," said O'Toole, who pointed out the water mark for viewers on Thursday's broadcast.

"It was a real eye-opener and I really hope they can get it back to the state it used to be in because one of the organizers said it was their field of dreams.

"That tears at your heartstrings, knowing that a football program so early in its existence - it's only what, four years old - and their main spot, the epicentre of the entire program is washed away, it's gotta be heartbreaking."

Onrait agreed, saying the field looked like it hadn't been used in years.

"I couldn't believe that this was a working football field last summer. It's just unbelievable to see on the fences nearby the algae that had washed up," he said.

"I was really impressed with all the players pitching in and helping out. It was a nice effort by everybody," Onrait continued.

"It's so awful to see all the devastation to the field, but you can just tell from the spirit of the people helping to clean that everything's going to get fixed soon and it'll be better than ever."

Wednesday's schedule also included autographs and media interviews in the afternoon, followed by Onrait visiting an Elecs practice and O'Toole driving a car at Estevan Motor Speedway.

The pair joined up later on for an intermission interview at the track.

"Every day is action-packed, but it's not like we're doing real work. It's fun," O'Toole said.

"We could study up online about towns and we know some things about the towns, but what we really discover is by hanging out with residents all day.

"That's what we like to know, (stories) from residents and getting the real feel for the town which you can't really find on the Internet."

Added Onrait: "Every tour is unique and it's always my favourite time of the year."

Both anchors told local organizers that they were surprised by the roar of the crowd during Thursday's show and were impressed that the Kraft Celebration Tour seemed to have gripped the entire town.

Estevan was the second Saskatchewan stop on this year's tour, following Kyle last Tuesday.

O'Toole insisted that he enjoys the scenery when the tour comes to this province.

"I love the Saskatchewan landscape. Every time you look out the window, it's literally like you're looking at a photo. It's just so perfect.

"People always think of Saskatchewan, 'Oh, it's just flat and boring.' No. I love it. And I'm not just saying that because I'm here," O'Toole said.

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