Dot, 81, takes to the netball court
Dot Collie has attended every Golden Oldies festival for the past 30 years – and the 81-year-old netballer sees no reason to stop now.
Despite refusing any formal exercise, the sprightly woman from Waiuku, near Auckland, is one of the sports festival’s oldest players. She took to the court alongside her four daughters at Christchurch’s Hagley Park last week to prove her age wouldn’t stop her shooting for gold.
Collie, formerly a keen hockey player who got into netball through her daughters, said she first agreed to attend the 1988 Goldie Oldies event in Brisbane as the team’s manager, but the other players convinced her to lace up her own trainers.
This year marks the first time all Golden Oldies events are being held in the same city. The monthlong international event in Christchurch runs cricket, golf, hockey, bowls, netball and rugby tournaments.
Not one to say no to a challenge, Collie took to the court and easily settled into her position as goal shoot – ‘‘it’s a bit of an art if I actually get in because I’m pretty short’’.
She enjoyed the team spirit, the chance to connect with old friends and the opportunity to travel so much that she’d been back to every festival since 1988. She was the only original member in the team and said she wouldn’t be giving it up anytime soon.
A banner made from souvenir pins collected at each tournament formed an impressive display of her commitment to the sport, daughter Marie said.
‘‘[My daughters] said they come to look after me but I think it’s a little bit both ways, I still look after them,’’ Dot Collie said.
Collie lives at home and is kept on her feet looking after her husband. She doesn’t bother with gyms or organised fitness to prepare, so the festival was a chance to see if she still ‘‘had it’’.
The 1988 festival was also the first time Wellington’s Hutt Hurtz players Judy Walley and Di Gapper took to the court.
Despite being three decades older now, the pair said they had no problem keeping up on the court with the younger players on the team.
With nine players total, the four Collie siblings and their mum Dot, 81, make up over half the squad.