Sluggers women’s softball team leaves today for the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy
© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Sue Keen throws a pitch during the Subway Sluggers final game on P.E.I.
A plan three years in the making comes to fruition today when a women’s softball team steps on a plane heading for Italy.
The Subway Sluggers will represent Prince Edward Island at the World Masters Games from Aug. 2 to 11.
“It’s pretty exciting,” coach/
manager Carol Mayne said. “It’s becoming real.”
She said stepping on the plane is the first thing she is looking forward to. The second is Saturday’s opening ceremonies.
“There’s going to be thousands of athletes (there) from all over the world,” Mayne said.
The Games are billed as “the most important world sporting event for sportspeople over 30.” It includes 30 sports ranging from athletics and soccer to archery and field hockey.
The Sluggers will be the first P.E.I. team to play at the Games when they face the Westridge Yankees on Friday.
“It’ll be a really proud moment for all of us to be able to hit the field in Turin,” Mayne said. “We have never had the opportunity to play a team from Australia, for example.”
The Sluggers will see a lot of the teams from down under during their stay in Italy. Subway plays five of its seven games against the Aussies. It also faces an American and a Japanese squad.
Subway has played in a midget league this summer in preparation for the Games. The team played its final game last week.
“We’ve had a great season,” Mayne said. “The girls are playing very well defensively.”
The women hustled on and off the field and encouraged each other throughout the game. Mayne said the players have a great sense of humour, which was evident by the contagious smiles they displayed throughout the game.
“We’re hoping for a lot of laughs and we hope to represent our province and our country with pride,” she said.
The team includes players who have competed at the World Masters, Eastern Canadian and national championships in the past. They come from across the Island as well as a couple of players from New Brunswick.
The team raised about $50,000 to help offset the costs of the trip.
Mayne said the community stepped up to the plate to help it achieve its goal.
“It’s been awesome,” she said.
“We’ve had tremendous support from the corporate community, Islanders,” the provincial government and City of Charlottetown.
“That’s just the nature of this Island, people pull together to make it happen,” she added.
The team hopes it sets an example for others to continue playing the sport they love as they age.
Twelve members of the team will be staying on for a five-day tour of Venice, Florence and Rome.
They are paying their own way for the tour.
World Masters Games
u What – The Games are an international sporting event that attracts tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, managers, family and friends from around the world. There are 30 core sports for athletes over 30 years old.
u Where – Turin, Italy.
u When – Aug. 2 to 11.
u Local Content – Subway Sluggers women’s softball team
u Did You Know? – The first World Master Games took place in Toronto in 1985. The event has also been hosted in Copenaghen, Brisbane, Portland, Melbourne, Edmonton and Sydney in 2009.
u Online – http://www.torino2013wmg.org
The following is the Subway Sluggers roster:
Westridge Yankees (U.S.) at Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.), 12:30 a.m.
Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.) at Runamux Reelers (Australia), 8 p.m.
Breakaways (Australia) at Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.), 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 6
Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.) at Wanderers (Australia), 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 7
Hiranoi Yasushi (Japan) at Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.), 9 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 8
Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.) at North Sydney (Australia), 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 9
Subway Sluggers (P.E.I.) at Shore Things (Australia), 12:30 a.m.
(All times Atlantic)