Hockey Masters

24 / 08 / 2015

This month for Sheilas, we’ve got a ripper article by Debbie Galtry and Kim Becker proving that age is no limit to getting back involved with the sports field they loved as youth, making long-lasting friends, travelling the world and having the time of their lives, go girls!

What do a group of women aged 45 and above do for fun? Play hockey of course!

It all started back in 2001 when we decided to enter the World Masters Games – an international multi-sport event held every four years – this year being held in Melbourne.  This was the beginning of an enduring friendship and commitment to each other and ourselves, despite age, injury and ailments.  Most were already friends or had been playing hockey together on and off since our early teens with Eltham or Greensborough Hockey Club. Seeing as we were forming a new team, we needed a new name.  We became ‘Yesterday’s Heroes’…how appropriate!

Our first sojourn into the ‘elite’ international competition in Melbourne saw us come in well below our expected result.  We didn’t realize the level of competition was quite so high.  Despite being accomplished players in our own right, we had never before played together as a team and so we commenced playing as Yesterdays Heroes on a weekly basis in Hockey Victoria’s summer and winter Veterans competition.

In 2003, the Australian Masters Games were being held in Canberra and a last minute decision was made to enter.   Having left it so late, accommodation was sparse and we ended up in a questionable motel with four or five squeezed into a room. Other than the communal BBQ being located in the parking lot and the occasional toilet backing up, we had the best time of our lives!  Sixteen women, away from home, no kids, no partners, no responsibilities and playing our favorite game. On this occasion, we got the Bronze.

Our Australian Masters Games achievements thus far include; 2005 Bronze, 2007 Silver, 2011 Gold.  We also competed again in a World Masters games held in Sydney 2009 in an attempt to better our previous lackluster performance in the 2001 WMG.  Out of 17 international teams, we rose to the challenge and came out with the silver medal. Having then discovered that the next World Masters Games were in Torino, Italy 2013, we said, yes, that’s for us.  A team savings account was established and for the next three years, all required saving and planning was done and off went the 16 of us. Could we handle Torino, could Torino handle us?

Although the games were based in Torino, the hockey was played 60 kms away in the beautiful wine region of Piedmont, in the aptly named town of Bra.  Our accommodation was a slight step up from our less salubrious beginnings in Canberra.  We had found a stunning villa which would sleep sixteen and was surrounded by vineyards.  It even had a pool which came in very handy after playing hockey in the 35 plus degree temperatures.  So much for hockey being a winter sport! Needless to say, we had a brilliant time touring the region between games.  We played off for the gold again but took the silver instead.

It is now fourteen years down the track and through marriage, divorce, babies and illness we have all been there for each other.  Much champagne has been drunk and we have laughed so much, that we are all now fourteen years younger than when we started!

Auckland 2017, here we come!