Australian Masters Games

Team spirit alive in Geelong

1 October 2013

Team spirit alive in Geelong

Marjorie Lowery says that the friends she made playing netball helped her through her fight with breast cancer 14 years ago.

“They were a great support”, the 71 year old said as she and her team mates made final preparations for their next battle – the 60+ tournament at the 14th Australian Master Games beginning in Geelong on Saturday.

“We’ve been going to masters’ events for 16 years because we love it – the camaraderie, the fun, the organisation which is always good and the great entertainment. Basically we are just old girls who get together and have fun – it’s not just about the netball.

“We’ve been all over the country – to the Gold Coast, Alice Springs, Sydney and once before to these Games when they were held in Newcastle,” Lowery says.

A softballer in her youth, Lowery did not take up netball until she was 35, initially as a coach when her then ten year-old daughter’s team needed some guidance.

“I had never played the game, but I thought I knew a bit about it so I put my hand up and it has all gone on from there. I’m still playing and at 71 I’ll be the oldest in our team.

“I play in defence – I like to knock ‘em down, not pick them up. We should have a good bash at it – we’ve recruited another goaler to help our chances.”

Her Dragons team plays out of Bendigo - their name reflecting their city’s Chinese heritage, but have recruited from as far afield as Sydney to ensure a full complement of players.

That’s not a problem faced by the Myths and Legends basketball team which has more than 300 members Australia-wide and will be represented by more than a dozen teams in Geelong. Two of them will feature in the men’s 70+ tournament in which they will take on a visiting outfit from the Pacific nation of Guam.

Templestowe’s Ken Baird is amongst the Myths and Legends 70+ boys and is proud of what his club has been able to do for participation in masters’ basketball.

“We’re the biggest club in Australia with branches in Adelaide and Brisbane and members even in Western Australia,” Baird says.

As for his own role, Baird’s take on it all is simple,

“I’m a basketball player. I just love it. And you’ll be able to pick me out. I’m 85 and I’ll be the oldest one out there.

“I didn’t start playing until I was 45. We were taking our kids around the place for games and I said to the management at the Bulleen Centre that they should do something for the older blokes. It’s been going strong ever since,” Baird said.

“Basketball has taken us all over the globe – including just a few weeks ago to Italy for the World Masters Games.”

Team events will feature heavily over the seven days of this year’s Games both in traditional sports such as netball, basketball, softball and rugby as well as in more diverse disciplines such as dragon boat and drilldance.

The Australian Masters Games, held from Saturday 5 to Saturday 12 October, is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events. Entertainment and social activities including an opening and closing ceremony ensure it’s an event anyone 30 years and older should tick off their bucket list.

Mental as Anything and James Reyne will star at the opening ceremony whilst Pseudo Echo will headline the ‘Funky Town’ 80’s themed closing ceremony.

For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit www.AustralianMastersGames.com

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