Player’s Own Voice podcast: Victoria Hayward on softball’s creativity

If there were awards for enduring uncertainty, Canada’s women’s softball team would clean up. 

The national squad has found creative workarounds for obstacles and setbacks since at least 2008, the last time softball made an appearance in the Olympics.

Now that the sport is back on the roster for Tokyo 2021, the team expects to rewrite its bitter fourth-place finish. That loss left a sour aftertaste for some veterans — and yes, thirteen years later, there are still four women on the team with personal stakes in winning bigger at the Olympics.

For captain Victoria Hayward, the answer to getting on the podium is in big-picture thinking. Canada’s national team also plays as The Wild of Southern Illinois, where international softball competition is fierce — exactly what you want to sharpen team skills.

This week on the Player’s Own Voice Podcast, Hayward talks about softball’s latest innovation, a 56-player league aiming to revolutionize the sport. Athletes Unlimited combines the best of fantasy leagues and traditional play to build a competition model that’s already caught the imagination of investors and fans alike.

Players are drafted to new team each week, while points are accumulated on an individual basis through personal statistics and team victories. Players get points for hitting singles and stealing bases, and profit sharing is meted out accordingly. It’s a head-spinning plan, but it’s working already, and it’s brought more money and attention to the game than seen in many years.

Like the CBC Sports’ Player’s Own Voice essay series, the POV podcast lets athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective. To listen to the entire third season, subscribe for free on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you get your other podcasts.