Looking back on a life in netball
By Steve Spinks
Joan Savins started her love affair with netball as a 10-year-old in Tamworth.
It's been a love affair that has spanned 62 years, a family, and a move to Lismore.
Just this month Mrs Savins was honoured by the Lismore netball community when she was made a life member of the association.
"I always thought in sport that to be made a life member is one of the highest honours you can get," a clearly touched Mrs Savins said.
The 72-year-old started her netball career in Tamworth watching her sister play for a school side.
"My sister Aileen (who is also a Lismore Netball life member) was in a side and I'd always have to wait for her to go home," she said.
"When they were short or needed an umpire they'd let me join in."
Despite her love of netball, Mrs Savins was interested in joining a hockey team when she first moved to Lismore.
She couldn't find a team, so joined a netball side instead.
She never looked back.
In 1969 Mrs Savins stopped playing netball, but returned to the game in 1987 with a borrowed pair of sandshoes to play for her team the Pink Panthers, who were short.
During her time with Lismore netball, Mrs Savins has held the positions of association secretary, club player, coach, umpire, representative player, registration umpire, coaching convenor, equipment officer, umpires convenor and executive assistant.
She is still involved in umpiring and intends to head to Sydney in June to umpire at the Junior State Age Championships.
"What can I say, netball became a way of life," Mrs Savins said.
"I was always in and out of committees."
A lot has changed in the game over the years, but Mrs Savins' love of netball has remained.