Meet Ipswich’s new president: Why netball ‘is like a child’
NEWLY-appointed Ipswich Netball Association (INA) president Nicole Virtue enjoys travelling, going to music concerts and attending musicals.
But having strong family ties to the sport, she has a special affection for the game.
"I feel like netball is my child,'' she said.
Virtue has been playing netball since she was 11, starting out in Alice Springs.
With her father working in the RAAF and her mum and sisters keen netballers, she has also played at club and representative level in centres like Canberra.
She also spent some time in Sydney where her husband Glen worked as a diesel fitter.
However, after 20 years in the Ipswich area, she offered to take on the all-important presidency role from long-serving leader Gail Lyne.
"I love the netball family that you get out of it . . . there's lifelong friends that you make,'' Virtue said.
"There's girls I played with when I was 15 years old that we are still friends with.
"The time passes and people move on and do something different, move away, have different things come up in their life whether it's family whatnot . . . then they come back.
"And I'm playing with girls this season that I've played with rep when I was 15.
"It's that whole cycle of what netball can bring.
"It's the enjoyment of being involved in it but it's also the enjoyment of seeing people succeed and how they can grow and develop on the pathway with netball.
"I think that's why I got involved.
"I like helping people.''
Virtue works full-time in contract and performance management.
With preparations well underway for a new Ipswich season after no competition last year, Virtue feels a sense of relief.
"One of the things is we'll be going back to the COVID-19 safety industry plan and ensuring that we are adhering to all of the rules and regulations,'' she said.
"But it definitely won't be as restricted as what it was last season.
"The key is getting people back out there on the courts and getting that enjoyment levels back.''
The 2021 Ipswich season is scheduled to fire up in May after grading games starting on March 13.
Virtue is one of 10 people on INA's management committee.
With netball competition being restored at the Limestone Park courts, Virtue said Ipswich officials had been talking to other associations "because they have been there, done that''.
She said INA had also benefited from Netball Queensland workshops and webinars throughout last year.
"There was a lot of lessons learnt in that,'' she said.
Virtue said she definitely missed not having netball on Saturdays last season.
As for her interests, she leads a busy but rewarding life with her husband and netball pursuits.
"I love travelling overseas and obviously not something we can do right now,'' she said.
"We've had a few big trips. Our last big trip was to Japan and we were very lucky to have got that in.
"My husband and I have got plans to do some travelling down to Tasmania, see a bit more, go up north.''
She said her passion for music "is also a big thing''.