Around the world and around the diamond

by | Sep 13, 2022

Woodstock softball star heading to Australia for her third international Master’s tournament

Woodstock’s Joy Hanson travels to Queensland, Australia, in November to play softball in the Pan Pacific Masters Games. The second baseman and pitcher plays for the Charlottetown Cheers in Prince Edward Island.

The voyage Downunder will be her team’s third international trip. She attended the World Masters in Italy in 2013 with a different PEI team, and in 2018 she participated in the same tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, with her current squad. They continued practicing until COVID-19 shut them down for two years.

This eliminated the recently scheduled Master’s contest, so Hanson’s softball team decided to try something new by attending the Pan American games.

“The next World Masters is scheduled for 2025 in Hong Kong, but we’re not getting any younger, so we didn’t want to wait,” said Hanson, a retired teacher from Canterbury.

Hanson has been playing with the PEI squad, comprised of players between the ages of 46 and 63, for several seasons. As the second oldest team member, she is a seasoned veteran.

Hanson is one of four New Brunswick players, joining three out of Moncton on the Charlottetown Cheers. Most games are played in Charlottetown, but the rest of her teammates reside all over the Island.

“It’s a great experience to be able to see the world while playing the sport I love,” said Hanson.

The Cheers played in several tournaments over the summer and recently went 3-2 in a tournament in Miramichi. They began their training last spring indoors and primarily played in the Charlottetown league.

“We are always playing younger teams,” said Hanson. “The oldest players on most of the other teams are 25. It keeps us in shape and thinking on base. We’ve had some great competition.”
Hanson will be travelling with 12 other players and two coaches.

Other than knowing their games start Nov. 3, they aren’t sure what to expect in terms of format and competition. Teams are currently still registering for the Games.

It’s the 12th year of the Pan American Masters Games, located on Australia’s famous Gold Coast. This year’s games feature more than 40 different sports, with teams from all over the world.
Hanson and the Charlottetown Cheers continue preparing for November’s international competition. They are scheduled to play a U17 Provincial team in PEI and will host a weekend fundraiser. They also have practices set to keep everyone game-ready.

“We just want to play ball, be on our toes and get ready,” said Hanson. “Playing younger teams all along makes you play better. We are excited to be travelling again. This is a great opportunity.”
The Cheers hopes to be competitive, but Hanson said the players no little about the level of competition they will face.

In previous international play in Auckland, they went undefeated in their opening round robin.
The roster has changed somewhat since then. While the youngest player is 46, only three are younger than 55.

“We have lots of years of ball experience,” said Hanson. “No matter what, it’s a great group, and we will have a lot of fun.”

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