Broken Hill’s Masters softball team, the Jesters, are preparing to hit the road for Adelaide on Friday to compete in this year’s Australian Masters Games with softball being just one of 50 sports represented at the week-long multisport festival being held from Saturday October 7 to Saturday October 14.
Twelve inspiring Broken Hill women make up the over 45’s Jesters softball team, with only two women under 55 years of age, and they don’t mind sharing that three of them are cancer survivors who’ve gone through tough times to get back in the softball diamond.
Jester members include Julie Sandy, Leonie Channing, Ann Garrick, Lynn Hammet, Leonie Wilson, Carrie Pritchard, Janet Vines, Gaylee Hanson, Vicki Olds, and cancer survivors Christine Bartley and Julie Wardle, with Cheryl Meuret sitting out the game this year while she recovers from cancer treatment but intends to attend the games as coach.
As the team gathered on Sunday for a 32-degree training session at Hillside Sports Grounds beside the West Broken Hill Football Club, we caught up for a chat with Ms Meuret, while sitting in the shade on the sidelines having recently been given the news, she’s in remission.
“The Masters is a competition for the elderly, so you’ve got to be over 35 but they cater for people who are 90,” Ms Meuret told us. “With our youngest member 45 and the oldest 73, we’re the only sporting team going to the Masters from Broken Hill, so we’re committed to continuing the game since it folded here about four years ago.”
“We’re off on Friday with the first game on Saturday morning and the second on Sunday morning, then two games a day for the next five days. The following Friday (September 13), we’ll split into two divisions and play the finals for the medals, and travel home on Saturday … if we’re still standing,” she laughed.
“This is the first year I haven’t played because I got diagnosed with cancer last year so I’m going as coach,” shared Ms Meuret. “I’ve got myeloma and the girls are donating to the myeloma fund at the end of the game, and two of the girls survived breast cancer so we’re donating to that too.
“I’m in remission after 12 months of chemo and a cell transplant. What they can do these days is amazing, it was hard work and a lot of side-effects but with no cure for myeloma, they say two to three years and it comes back.
“Sandy Roberts, a commentator on Channel 7 got diagnosed with it and was talking about it on the Footie Show recently,” said Ms Meuret. “There’s 20 thousand people in the country who have been diagnosed with it and he said they need money to find a cure for it.”
“I thought it was long covid at first. To be told you’ve got incurable cancer was a real shock, but you can get through these things.
“One of our players had breast cancer 22 years ago and here she is on the team heading off to the Masters on Friday so we’re looking forward to doing a trip together and staying at the Glenelg Motel, and we’ll enjoy the trip no matter what the result at the games.”
Broken Hill resident, Ben Stellini, joined the team during training.
“I play baseball, so as the only man from Broken Hill going to the Masters, I train with the ladies and will support them on the day,” said Mr Stellini. “They’ve been playing together for over 30 years and have the best comradery and friendship going, so win, lose or draw, they’ll play the game well.”
Barrier Truth’s own Jason Irvine is heading along to umpire at the Masters Games, so we wish them all the very best!
If you’d like to donate to Myeloma Australia, visit this link: https://myeloma.org.au/donate