Team Canada is undefeated in the Women’s Baseball World Cup, slamming Australia, the United States and Japan en route to a perfect 6-0 record. Melissa Armstrong, a leading pitcher for the Canucks, is a major reason behind the success, and took to the hill in a tight victory over the Aussies in game three of the tournament. When not donning the Canadian jersey, however, Armstrong is setting a torrid pace in malaria-related research, and she’s soon heading to Oxford for further schooling. The Wanderer Online interviewed Armstrong over e-mail, talking about everything from her start in baseball to her pick between the Yankees and Red Sox.
1. Ok, so first off, how did you first get involved with the beautiful sport of baseball?
As kids, my parents got my three sisters and I involved with sports teams. Baseball was one of those sports. I continued to play a variety of sports through high school including basketball, volleyball, track and field, badminton and of course, baseball. Baseball was one of the sports that had a future after high school and I really enjoyed it.
2. You’ve obviously proven yourself en route to joining Team Canada. When did you first think about the opportunity to represent your country?
I first heard about the National Team in 2004. I started training in earnest after that summer, hoping that I would have a shot at making the team.
3. When people think about baseball, they likely view it as a male-dominated sport. But the women’s game seems to be growing really quickly. Why do you think that is?
I think that as girls see that there are opportunities to play at a high level, more of them persevere through the years of playing as the only girl on a team. I think that girls can look at the women’s hockey program and realize that women’s baseball is a burgeoning program. In some provinces, there is a lot of time and energy put into funding and developing the provincial programs and teams for female athletes. Team Canada also puts together girls’ baseball camps across the country.
4. The Yankees or the Red Sox?
Interestingly enough, I like to play baseball more than I like to watch the MLB. Unlike most of my teammates, I have very little opinion on this very contentious rivalry. If pressed, I would probably cheer for the Yankees.
5. Switching topics, you’re heading to Oxford for your Masters, where you’ll research into malaria. Why malaria in particular, and why Oxford?
I have spent some time researching African Studies programs at various universities and I think that Oxford’s African Studies program has a lot to offer. History of Medicine in Southern Africa has been an academic area of interest after taking a couple of classes studying the history of health care systems and the history of HIV/AIDS. After getting malaria in the summer of last year, I became interested in the history of the disease specifically.
6. Rowing is well-known there. Think you might give it a shot? Rio 2016 maybe?
Rowing would be exciting to take up as a way to keep in shape, enjoy a new experience, meet new people and learn a new sport. I think that it would be really fun to be a part of the college rowing team.
7. Canada has started with three wins in the World Cup, and you helped pitch your squad to victory over Australia. What was that like?
It has been really amazing to play here, in front of a home crowd with my family in the stands. I love the feeling of being a part of a team, especially this team. I feel that we have the strongest team defensively in the world and pitching with that kind of defense behind me only makes the experience that much more fun.
8. And the last question: your favourite sports genre book of all-time, and why?
Even after considering this question for a while, I am still drawing blanks for a memorable sports genre book. Perhaps because I am so often in the gym and playing sports, I do not read about people who play them as often.