Life membership surprises Rachel
THERE are not many people as well liked or respected in vigoro as Rachel Savage.
While the Ipswich representative has achieved almost all that can be accomplished as a player, it's her involvement in the game that will long be remembered as a tireless worker, unselfish official and a passionate Wildcats woman.
Such has been her contribution that yesterday she became the 22nd life member of Queensland Vigoro Association.
The 41-year-old was awarded the honour during a surprise presentation at the start of yesterday's Queensland Vigoro Championships at Boonah.
The QVA secretary was humbled to receive praise from those involved in the sport.
"It's not something that is given out lightly so it's an absolute honour and privilege to receive it," Savage said.
"I look at the people who have received this before me and what they've done to help vigoro keep going; I can't believe I'm in the same company.
"It means a lot knowing there are people who appreciate what work and promotion I have done for the sport."
It seems almost everyone around the vigoro circles across Australia knows Savage. Opposition players know her as the ultimate team player and inspirational leader who is focused on the team than on personal glory.
At the vigoro fields at East Ipswich, people also know her as the canteen lady who makes specialty chicken, cheese and avocado sandwiches.
Savage's love of vigoro was spawned during her early years at the Ipswich Vigoro Association, where she took on many roles over her 36 years of service, including assistant secretary, secretary, selector and now canteen convenor.
The long-serving Wildcats captain and Ipswich Vigoro Association life member jokes she didn't have much choice but to play vigoro.
However, she has no regrets.
"Vigoro has been part of my life since I was born because mum (Janet) was still playing when she was pregnant with me," she said.
Savage started playing vigoro at the tender age of five and has represented Ipswich since she was nine.
She earned her first Queensland cap when she was 16 and for 25 years has been representing her state at national vigoro titles.
She also helps co-ordinate the Midgey Vigsy and Junior Expo programs in Ipswich.
"I hope to continue playing into my 60s or longer, but right now my main aim is to make sure vigoro stays alive and inspire the younger kids to keep playing the sport," she said.
"If we can instil the passion into them, when it comes time for the next generation to take over hopefully they can build the sport back up to where it was."