Lasting Friendships through Sport

For those who follow me, you may have read some of my blogs reiterating the social aspect of sport.

It was this time last year that I played a masters netball competition with my netball side who reformed after almost 25 years to play. Playing with them over the 2 days was not so good for my body but words cannot explain how good it was for my soul. We have all moved to different places and all have work and family commitments, but we have remained close friends for 25 years.

One of my dearest friends and I are about to celebrate our 42nd friendversary (I think Facebook has made that a word now?). We shared most of our childhood doing athletics together and 4 decades later, she is still my best friend!

In a world where everyone seems to have a lot of “Facebook friends”, “Fortnite groups” and “tinder/RSVP type friends”. You can not put enough emphasis on the fact that we need (yes, I said NEED) real friends who are there for us in our real lives. Internet friends are not always real friends (apologies if this offends some people but I am just telling it like it is).

These friends you see, will be the ones that help you celebrate the happy times in your life, as well as be there for the crappy times. They are the constants in our lives that we may not always see regularly but are always only a phone call away when we need someone.

That is why I am so incredibly lucky to have met these four ladies a few weeks ago at a national hockey match. Carol Purdy, Judy Lucas, Adele McDonald and Margaret Ryan are all in the photo above.

Carol, Judy and Adele are life members of Hockey NSW and Margaret is a life member of Hockey Australia. They have been players, administrators and friends for many years. They all met in the 60-70’s at Rushcutters Bay back in the day where games were played on grass fields.

I looked on in complete admiration as I saw the comradery between these ladies who were loving each other as much as the game. I knew there was a good story in there and as I interviewed Adele Macdonald, I learnt so much.

Not only does their friendship well and truly trump mine at 60 years (yes 6 decades). It also taught me the value of having good role models for female athlete participation and having accessibility to local teams to join and have fun.

  1. What made you get into sport?
    As a child in Scotland, I loved all sports, and was introduced to hockey at primary school. Then at high school I was influenced by two of my teachers who were Scottish Internationals and so my journey began. We emigrated to Australia 1965, and the first thing I did was find a hockey club to continue my love of the game.
  2. How have you seen it change over the years?
    From grass field to synthetic pitches and many Rule changes. Such as: No more bullies, hit ins instead of rolling the ball in. No offside. 4 quarter times instead of 2. Rolling substitutions. Penalty shoot outs, I could go on. I can say “the game is faster, more professional and great to watch”.
  3. How have you seen administration and coaching of sport change?
    • Hockey has changed with the times, television, sponsorship and corporate image demands.
    • In hockey people had to be truly amateurs to compete at the Olympics originally. Athletes now n 24/7 to obtain Government grants and become semi- professional, otherwise Australia could not stay at the top of our sport.
    • Team personnel and hockey administrators at a State level.
    • The Men’s and Women’s Associations had to amalgamate to qualify for Government support. Media coverage had always been hard to promote, trying to compete with the high-profile sports like rugby, tennis and cricket.
    • Institutes of sports are now set up in all states. People are working full-time in coaching of players, other coaches and umpires. Government grants are received to continue the programs.
  1. What was it like as a female getting into sport growing up?
    I personally had no problems getting into sport as a female. We were all amateurs in my day as a representative player, administrator or umpire either in Scotland or Australia. Hockey has led the way in equality for the women’s and men’s game. Other sports are now following suit. There is so much more women’s cricket, hockey, soccer and rugby readily available on the television these days.
  2. Who was your greatest influence in sport?
    It started with my school teachers in Scotland, Eileen Nichol and Betty Gavigan. Always then guided by my peers in Australia. Usually the association administrations. The first lady I met when arriving in Australia Joan Stilgoe OAM, still a great friend. Jeanette Slade OAM, Pam Tye OAM and Bess Rosen who were are all pioneers in Women’s sports.
  3. Who was/is the greatest athlete you have ever seen and why?
    The greatest athletes I would say Roger Federer and Dawn Fraser. Both wonderful athletes and examples to all other athletes. They lead by example and give continuously.
Yvette Audet

Yvette Audet

Sport has been an integral part of my life, both work and personal. I grew up with sport, met my husband through sport and now as a mother, am involved more than ever in sport!

As a trainer and consultant in the industry I work with sporting groups and councils to create community facilities and partnerships aimed to increase sport participation.

I have created a range of articles from the perspective of a SPORTING MUM. The articles relate life skills and messages that we can get from being involved in sport. It’s uncanny how Sport can mirror life.


Involved in gymnastics, netball and athletics from an early age, Yvette experienced being part of a team as well as the unrelentless discipline in individual sport – in particular her Heptathlon days.

First became a mum in 2005 and remembers having the inner debate of how long should I play netball while pregnant? Doing quick breastfeeds in between netball games and hoping her uterus wouldn’t feel like falling out when she jumped for the ball.

Funny anecdotes aside, she has worked in the sport and recreation industry for almost 30 years and holds several certificates and degrees around the management and training of sport, community recreation, aquatics and fitness.

Through her various roles in profit and non-profit sectors, she has helped plan for programs, events and facilities to help get communities active through sport and recreation.