FREDERICTION, N.B. — Alyssa Shupe devoted her summers to playing baseball and softball, and now her focus is on helping children have those same opportunities.
The former Scotchtown resident was recently named the executive director for Softball New Brunswick, an organization with a membership of 4,000.
Shupe is looking forward to the opportunity to give back to the sport she loves.
“I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunities I had with coming from a small community to where I am now,” said Shupe, who now calls Fredericton home. “It does help coming from such a sports-oriented community, who are passionate about sport, in particular baseball and softball.”
On the field, Shupe, a pitcher and an infielder, was considered an all-star by her teammates. She played in the New Waterford Minor Baseball system for eight years, and was also part of Breton Education Centre’s men’s baseball team for two years.
She also represented two provinces, Nova Scotia and Manitoba (where she lived for a year and a half) on the national stage, and also played for Team Atlantic’s slo-pitch team.
One of the biggest highlights of her career was being named Manitoba’s top female athlete in 2007. Another highlight of hers was playing for the University of New Brunswick (where she received her Bachelor of Recreation and Sport Studies in Kinesiology) at the Intercollegiate Fastpitch Games in Ontario in 2012.
Shupe said although she played baseball and softball, she had more opportunities with softball.
“I was and still am able to compete at an elite level throughout different tournaments, leagues and championships,” said the 26-year-old. “With that being said, I would promote the sport of softball to young athletes, especially young girls.”
Softball is one of the more popular sports in New Brunswick. There are eight regions, including Campbellton, Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John and Woodstock.
Although baseball is a direct competitor in the province, Shupe said there are more opportunities for adults, both competitively and recreationally, in softball.
Shupe said there is a “happy medium” when it comes to players playing softball and baseball in New Brunswick.
“There are more adult leagues and associations than youth teams, but there seems to be a healthy increase in the number of female softball players,” she said. “With that being said, there seems to be a steady decline in the number of male softball players at a younger age.”
As the executive director, Shupe is in charge of many different aspects of the sport, including overseeing day-to-day administrative operations, managing online registration along with managing long-term player development, and developing a comprehensive marketing and sponsorship plan.
Professionally, Shupe is the recreation program director for the Gagetown and District Recreation Council.
She said things can become overwhelming between work and the executive director position.
“I enjoy what I do — I am very passionate about sport, recreation, and leisure and this job is just the cherry on top,” said Shupe. “I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Although only being named the organizations’ executive director in January, Shupe already has some plans for Softball New Brunswick.
“My overall goal would be to be a strong female advocate and role model for the growth of the sport,” said Shupe. “I also hope to implement a Special Olympics team and coaching staff, partnering with Special Olympics New Brunswick, and to generate more membership as well as the expansion of more associations.”
Shupe encourages more children and adults to give softball a chance in Cape Breton.
“Softball is much more diverse and there are more opportunities within the stream,” said Shupe. “Cape Breton has one of the biggest slo-pitch leagues around and that number is on the rise. You also have a luxury of continuing to play as an adult or senior and attend great tournaments.”
Name : Alyssa Shupe
Lives: Fredericton, N.B.
Occupation: Executive director of Softball New Brunswick, and recreation program director at Gagetown & District Recreation Council