Athletes ready to open play at Canada Games in Winnipeg
Emily Brothers has spent countless hours on diamonds across Prince Edward Island preparing for today.
Photos For more on the P.E.I. athletes at the Canada Games, see B12
The 18-year-old Cardigan native and her Team P.E.I. softball teammates open play at the Canada Games with a pair of contests as Week 2 competition begins.
“This has been my dream for a long time and it’s finally here,’’ she said Sunday.
“We’ve all put so much time and effort in and so has the coaches and all of the support staff and parents. We’re really excited. Two big games tomorrow, it would be awesome to start off with a couple of wins.”
P.E.I. opens play at 1 p.m. Atlantic against Saskatchewan before meeting the host Manitoba squad at 5 p.m. The competition takes place in Headingley, Man., about 30 minutes from the athletes’ village in Winnipeg.
Katie Rayner was 16 years old when she first joined a provincial softball team.
“Back then I knew my goal was to play (at the) Canada Games,’’ she said, noting a sense of satisfaction to be able to accomplish that first goal of being in Winnipeg.
“It feels great. There’s no better feeling.”
The team left Charlottetown on Saturday afternoon and had time to check out a bit of the village during the evening while getting settled in.
“The flight here flew by,’’ said Rayner, a 20-year-old Kildare native.
“It was great to see the atmosphere, to see (people from) all of the different provinces and everyone walking around. It’s going to be a great week.”
The team had its first practice on Sunday morning and it ramped up the energy for the squad.
“Once we actually got to see the field, we all really clicked in that we were here and we all
got more pumped up,’’ Brothers said.
The team has spent many hours on the field, in the gym training, fundraising and team bonding.
The Jeff Ellsworth/Ashley Praught-coached squad has also been busy travelling to tournaments in Eastern Canada to prepare for this week.
“I think we’re all ready,’’ Rayner said. “We’ve all been looking forward to it for so long, we all trained hard and we’re ready.”
The Games are about competition, but also about spending time with friends and meeting new people.
“We’re all here to have fun,’’ Brothers said. “We all want to win, but it is important to make friends and make memories that will last a lifetime.”
Emily Brothers, left, and Katie Rayner and their Team P.E.I. softball teammates are ready to play their first game today at the Canada Games in Headingley, Man.