Jillian takes top NetMum title
IT WOULD be safe to say Jillian Boyle is passionate about netball.
Over the past 60 years she has been a netball player, coach, umpire, administrator and mentor.
Even more importantly, she has been one of the diehard bunch known as "netball mums".
Mrs Boyle's six decades of dedication to the sport were recognised yesterday when she was named the inaugural Australian Telstra NetMum.
The announcement followed a nationwide search through the ranks of the Australian netball community and a nomination by Mrs Boyle's daughter Jacqueline - one of five girls in the family who have followed in their mother's footsteps.
As she watched hundreds of young girls play in a netball tournament at Caloundra yesterday, Mrs Boyle said she was thrilled to be honoured on behalf of all netball mothers.
"I'm blown by it but I am just one mother among thousands," she said.
"I just happened to have been involved for 60 years when others had more sense."
With five daughters and two sons growing up in country Victoria, it was almost inevitable Mrs Boyle would become a sporting mum of some sort.
It turned out to be netball only because she returned from a stint at college several years earlier and helped introduce the sport to her home town of Kyabram.
She played the game herself for 28 years before moving into coaching and umpiring roles, often piling players into the family car to drive hundreds of kilometres for games.
"We had this great big white station wagon and being a single mum at that stage with a large family, we used to have cook-ups and take Tupperware containers of home-made goodies and thermoses of home-made soup.
"Whoever was lucky enough to be in our vehicle would get to enjoy those snacks."
Mrs Boyle continued her involvement with the sport after moving to Caloundra in 1986, coaching teams right up to representative level as well as being heavily involved in umpiring and administration roles.
And she is enjoying watching another generation of the family follow in her footsteps as her granddaughters take up the sport.
"I'm very proud of my girls," she said, as much in reference to her offspring as the thousands of players she has been involved with over the years.
"We really are one big family in netball. As mums, we do our best to nurture our children and getting them involved in netball is one of the best ways to do this.
"It gives young people many skills for life. It shows what can be achieved with hard work, and that it's not always about being the best."