For those that don’t know me, I have been teaching woodwind instruments at Whitefriars for the past 14 years. Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Ballina NSW to represent Victoria in Water Polo. I only started the sport at the age of 30, but I have worked hard to get to the level that I have winning a state gold medal in 2019 at the age of 38. After a few setbacks due to team issues, I found a new team to play with last year at a higher level than what I had previously. I got asked to play at the Victorian Country Championships back in February and we were asked who wanted to be considered for the state squad. I said yes but didn’t expect to be picked due to my age. I played well at the country championships and even though my team came last, I scored three goals inducing a 5m penalty and assisted in several other goals. When the team list came out, I was surprised to be on the list as a reserve but didn’t think much of it until two weeks later I was called and asked to play.
I arrived in Ballina not knowing anyone on my team, but knowing there were at least two players who played at a national level. From the start the team bonded well and although the guys were all quite a lot younger than me. There were 5 other teams in the competition from Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia as well as a Defence Forces team. We won our first game against Queensland B easily and I even scored a goal and made several assists. The other games varied, some were closer than others, but we won every game! We played full length games in the Olympic length pool which we are not always able to do in our local games back In Melbourne. We then had to play WA again and we beat them rather easily and then faced a grand final against our toughest opponents. Tasmania. While it was very tight, we were always in the lead and never less than two goals ahead. With about two minutes to go, I knew we had done it! We WON GOLD! I was very emotional and nearly cried. Despite not getting as much game time as others on my team, I knew I had contributed to our win. We had a great night of celebration and much happiness before returning home the next day. I have been wearing my medal around school for the past two weeks as anyone that has seen me knows. I have been sleeping a lot in the week since I got back as seven full length games in only four days is a lot.
I just wanted to share my story with you all as I am just so proud of my achievement, and I hope to inspire our boys to never give up on their sporting dreams. Even if you can’t make the top competition in your sport such as the AFL or the Olympics, there are other competitions and levels you can play in and still do well. Even if you don’t’ get as much game time as your teammates, don’t touch the ball as often or don’t score any goals, you still contribute to the team. Who knows, you might even win your first national gold medal at the age of 42 like me!
Thank you so much for all the support from everyone in the Whitefriars Community. I am so glad that I made you proud. I look forward to sharing my water polo skills with the boys at school if the opportunity arises at some point in the future.
Instrumental Music Teacher