She's been playing softball for 50 years, but for Carol White, going to New Zealand this spring to compete with the P.E.I. women's softball team Cheers at the World Masters Games will be the trip of a lifetime.
"I'm excited, a little bit nervous, but I'm really looking forward to it. I know we'll have a great time," said White, who at 71 is the team's most senior member. "We play to win."
The 16 team members range in age from 45-71 and will be participating in the 45-plus division.
White will be competing in Auckland against players up to 25 years younger than she is, but said she's not fazed.
"I don't even think about it. I don't even know I'm old until I look in the mirror. I don't have an ache or a pain and I don't even realize the age difference until somebody says something," said White.
As for her own team, White said the young and older players make a good match.
"I think we complement each other," said White. "I think the younger ones have more speed, the older ones probably have a little more experience. It just gels and it just works."
Sue Keen, the team's founder, said she knew immediately she wanted to sign up for the 2017 World Masters after attending the games three years ago in Italy.
"I was so excited about coming back and I knew there was a lot of talent," said Keen.
Since then, the team has been practicing several times a week and saving the money to go.
"It's a big commitment. It's three years of work to earn money to go and we worked hard," said White.
They've even had the help of Jeff Ellsworth, head coach of the Canada Games women's softball team, who share their practice space with the Cheers team.
"There's a little bit of an age gap but the goals are the same," said Ellsworth. "It's been a great experience so far."
White said she has no desire to give up sports anytime soon.
"I'm doing more today, and more travel with my sports than I did in my youth," she said. "There's nothing I don't love about playing softball with the girls."
The team will be joining another P.E.I. team, the Subway Sluggers, also competing in the women's 45+ division.
They leave for Auckland on April 14.
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