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Sporting moments live on and on

by Michèle Nardelli

THIS SPORTING LIFE: Jenny Williams (top row left) and Wendy Piltz (top row third from right) with their 2006 winning teamAround this time 26 years ago two teacher's college students, Wendy Piltz and Jenny Williams, formed a student-based lacrosse club.

A few weekends ago the pair played in the grand final for the same club – and they played alongside their daughters. The University of South Australia (formerly College of Advanced Education) Women’s Lacrosse Club has been competing since 1980, winning many club premierships (nine in A grade), producing numerous state and international players, and participating in national championships as well as winning the 1986 World Cup.

In all those years Wendy Piltz, now a senior lecturer in human movement and education, has been putting sports theory into practice on the field and introducing many students to the game.

"Involvement in team sport is a rich experience and while some of the reasons for playing may change over the years, there are other values that stay the same. It’s about being active, participating with friends and helping others to learn and enjoy the game," Piltz said. "The B grade team provides the opportunity to bring in novice players mentored on field by those with more experience."

Today the team has a player age range from 11 years (Kelsey Piltz) to 50 years (Wendy Piltz, who celebrated her 50th birthday the week before the grand final). Williams’ daughter Ellen (13 years) also plays in the team and two daughters (Chelsea Roberts and Meg Gibbons) of other UniSA graduates are also playing in the team this year.

"Everyone in the team is a UniSA student, graduate or the daughter of a graduate," Piltz said.

"The whole inter-generational experience is good too. People almost do a double take when I tell them that the team has such a mixed age range – but it really works and I think there is a message in that. Sport can make some things possible that would not apply in other settings – like engagement between parents and children and Gen X and Y with baby boomers."

Piltz’s buddy from college days, Jenny Williams, (from the famous Port Adelaide Football club family) has been the driving force in the formation of the mother daughter team.

Williams, who is a member of the Physical Activity Council, believes there could be huge advantages in encouraging mixed age sporting teams or at least looking at organising sporting hubs where the whole family can take part.

"When you think about it, parents spend a lot of their spare time driving their children from sport to sport and get very little time to get into any physical activity themselves. For me the experience of playing in a team with the family is fantastic."