Island women's softball team heading to New Zealand in 2017 for World Masters Games
By Jason Malloy
The Subway Sluggers had so much fun competing at the World Masters Games they want to do it again.
The Island softball team competed in Turin, Italy, last summer. It now has its sights set on Auckland, N.Z., in 2017.
“When we went over to Italy I think a number of us thought that would be our swan song,” said Carol Mayne. “But when we got over there and you’re in the opening ceremony and you have a Canadian Maple Leaf on your back and people are clapping and saying ‘go, Canada, go,’ it certainly changes the perspective.”
Ginette Plourde, an outfielder from Mill River East, remembers the feeling like it was yesterday.
“We were walking in the streets and there were people on either side and we felt like we were Olympians. I still have goose bumps talking about it,” she said. “It was just unbelievable.”
Players made friendships with counterparts and officials from other countries bound by a common thread — a love of softball.
Nancy MacDougall said while both teams wanted to win, they were cheering for each other when they made a nice play.
“It’s just an incredible feeling of camaraderie.”
Being back on the diamond was a great experience, she said, thinking back to how she
got involved with the team in 2011.
“We all played ball for years and years and years and you love the sport,” she said.
“When Carol phoned and said this is what we’re doing it was our chance, all of us, to say, ‘Hey, you know what, we were good ball players, we can do this again.’”
The team was registered in the 35 and older division in Italy while they will register in 45 and older division in 2017. Plourde said she was unsure how they would do at the international event last summer. Having finished ninth out of 21 teams, she has a better idea of the competition and what to expect this time around.
“Now we can focus more on things that we can improve on,” Plourde said.
The team has a roster of 13 players – 11 Islanders and two from New Brunswick – and expects another five people will be part of the team in a variety of capacities. The team played its first games of the season last weekend, finishing second at the West Royalty Blast Off Tournament in the under-18 division.
Mayne expects the trip will cost twice as much as the $50,000 it cost to go to Italy with the biggest variable being airfare.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have Subway once again to be our sponsor,” she said, noting the trip would not possible without their support.
MacDougall said there is another special reason she is looking forward to playing in 2017 and it has to do with one of her teammates.
“A lot of us that went to Italy, we wanted to go again for Bev,” MacDougall said.
Bev Judson-Gosbee was unable to go to Italy after breaking her leg a couple weeks before the trip. MacDougall and Plourde said it was “heartbreaking” to see one of their teammates, who had worked so hard for the trip, unable to attend.
“Everyone seems like family now,” MacDougall said.