Chilliwack’s Shannon Wedel enjoyed the experience of a lifetime, traveling to Torino, Italy Aug. 2-11 for the World Masters Games1.
The 35-year-old Sardis secondary school grad competed in women’s fastpitch softball, winning silver as part of the Vancouver Meralomas.
“It was an awesome experience, with parades in the streets and the citizens cheering us on,” she said. “It was my first Italian experience, and they all had signs in their store windows welcoming us. There were 20,000-25,000 athletes there.”
Wedel used to play fastpitch in Vancouver, and the Meralomas asked her to join their World Masters entry in January. In Italy, they found themselves playing in a five-team competitive junior women’s division with the Alberta Wild, Redcliffe Rockets (Australia), Southerns Masters 35 (Australia) and Lentini’s Softball (Italy).
“We went unbeaten in round-robin play, with eight wins and a tie (2-2 versus the Southerns),” Wedel said. “We beat Lentini’s twice in round-robin, but they beat us 11-10 in the final. So it was a little bittersweet.”
Wedel and her teammates explored the city and watched other events.
“The oldest competitor was a 94-year-old women in swimming, and we heard the 1972 Russian basketball team was there as well,” Wedel said. “We had free transit, so we could go anywhere. We saw a lot of the Olympic buildings they made for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and we got into all the museums for free.”
The experience was so wonderful that Wedel is already scheming for four years from now, when the WMG will be held in Auckland, New Zealand.
“There’s a lot of women I played fastpitch with in Chilliwack when I was growing up,” she said. “And they’re all getting into that 35+ age level now. So we’re already trying to figure out whether we’ve got enough to send a Chilliwack team to the next one.”