Luck and opportunity paved the way for lifelong friendships and health.
That’s how Maureen Hibberson sees sports in her life.
“I come from a very athletic family [and had] all kinds of opportunity,” she said. “My mother and dad put me in everything. They thought it was a good idea for youngsters to be in a variety of sports.”
Her success in five sports in particular earned her a place in the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year; inducted alongside eight other local athletes at the Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa late last month.
“I was absolutely flabbergasted. I had no idea it was even being considered,” she said. “I feel I’m representing a lot of women in my generation. In our era people played everything. There weren’t specialties.”
Hibberson held her own in five sports: badminton, swimming, tennis, field hockey and golf.
While now a youth may focus on one or two sports to excel in, she says it was just different back then.
“They’re just different. My era was lots of fun and I was just happy to be in sports,” she said. “I enjoyed everything I did.”
They came very naturally for the Oak Bay resident.
When pressed, she admits that the B.C. individual title in synchronized swimming, won twice, was a bit sweeter as it’s a sport she had to work a little harder at.
“That was the most important one, I had to practise the most.”
But perhaps her biggest achievements came in badminton, which she played from the age of 14 to 79.
Over that time period she won seven club titles, 20 city titles, four Pacific Northwest titles, 40 provincial titles, six national titles and two international titles.
“I played it the longest and travelled the most with it,” she said.
Perhaps the best thing that came from the sport: “I met my husband playing badminton,” she said.
They partnered for both bridge and badminton tournaments without fighting.
“So we thought it was OK to get married,” she said with a laugh.
She came to golf later, after 1958 when she did her knee in. On the advice of the then Victoria Cougars hockey club doctor, Hibberson didn’t get the cartilage scraped as was common practice at the time.
“Two years later I was fine and that hasn’t bothered me since,” she said.
Having given up the other sports, Hibberson still plays four rounds a week at Uplands Golf Club where she’s a member – another family tradition. There too her name is etched on multiple trophies.
“It’s fun. There’s lots of camaraderie in a place like this. If it rains we play bridge,” she said. “That’s the joy of this. I have friends from all of the sports. That’s the true reward.”