“Enjoy your sport, enjoy the friendships you create, both with team members and the opposition”, life member of both the Mitiamo Football Netball Club, and Loddon Valley Football Netball League Joy Lawry shared.
“Value Friendship and comradery with teammates and the opposition, these all become lifelong memories”.
Joy has been involved with the Loddon Valley Football Netball league, (LVFNL) for the larger portion of her life. Debuting for Mitiamo netball club in 1965, she played mainly goal attack and goal shooter for the Senior/ A grade team for 33 years.
Joy became a life member of Mitiamo in 1984 and a life member of Loddon Valley Netball Association (LVNA) in 1995.
Before her current position as Secretary of the LVFNL Board of Management, which she commenced in 2013, Joy had previously held positions as President, Vice President, Secretary and Publicity Officer of the LVNA and President and Secretary of Mitiamo netball.
The dedication and service Joy has provided both Mitiamo and the Loddon Valley league has unarguably been outstanding.
“It’s the enjoyment for my sport”, Joy shared about why she has dedicated such a significant amount of time to the league. “It’s my way of giving back to enable others to have that same enjoyment”.
Beyond the board Joy has been involved with the league and club in every way possible. Apart from her many years of playing, she has umpired, coached, and volunteered as a trainer for both Mitiamo and interleague competitions.
“People should be willing to volunteer” Joy stressed. “Most clubs have a few core volunteers, but that’s not enough”. She asks people to, “Put your hand up to be a coach or team manager, or part of the interleague competitions. Whether you help out in first aid, or scoring, there are lots of jobs people can do to help and support their clubs”.
Joy shared how unfortunate it was that “sometimes when players stop playing they walk away, but it would be great if they could stay involved, contributing through volunteer work”.
Joy has had some special moments over the 55 years she has been involved with the league and the club however the opportunity for her and her daughter to play together and to both captain Mitiamo A grade netball into premierships and to watch her son captain Mitiamo in a Senior football premiership are memories she will treasure forever.
Joy has grown with the league. When she first began her netball journey with Mitiamo, football and netball, although playing at the same venue against the same opposition, were in separate leagues – the LVFL and the LVNA.
“Although they had always worked closely, when the football and netball bodies merged, it enabled football and netball administrators to have a greater understanding of one another’s operation”.
“The social aspect between footballers and netballers has always existed though”.
There was only one senior and one junior netball team in the Loddon Valley competition when she began, now there are four senior teams and three juniors. In the 70’s, B grade and C grade were added. In 2012, C Reserve was introduced. A second junior competition was added in 2000. In 2018, the junior sides rose from two to three with the introduction of the 13&Under competition.
Then of course there are the Mini’s. “We have always had our Mini’s, they have existed since the 70’s. The mini’s are the beginners, there to learn the game, develop skills, understand the rules and above all, have fun”.
“It’s fantastic to see the girls that go from Mini’s and end up in A grade throughout the league”.
“Aim high”, Joy advises the minis. “Work on those skills and enjoy the game”.
Joy also played a season in B Grade before retiring. After a number of years in retirement, Joy made a comeback in the inaugural C Reserve netball season in 2012.
With 55 years’ worth of passionate dedication and involvement in both Mitiamo Football and Netball Club and the Loddon Valley Football Netball League, Joy was honoured to have the LVFNL B grade best and fairest player award named after her in 2017. Joy has the honour of presenting this award at the LVFNL Gala presentation night every year, you can understand why Joy has been acknowledged and rewarded with two life memberships.
Eliza McKinstry, Internship