More than just good sports

IT CAME as no surprise for family and friends of Janine and Darrin Kington that their romance bloomed on the hockey fields.

Janine spent her early years in Blackwater, but when her father became ill and had to leave his mining job, the family returned to his home town of Bundaberg, and Janine attended Kepnock High School.

Darrin was born in Bundy and went to West State School and Bundaberg High School, but he and Janine met through their younger sisters who were in the same hockey team.

"We'd played hockey from when we were little," Janine explained.

"Originally we were with the All Blacks Hockey Club but when Darrin was 17 he moved across to the Gin Gin Hockey Club, which is now known as Raiders Hockey Club, and I followed him.

"We had a couple of years break from hockey when we got married but then we went back, with Darrin mainly coaching, and I took on the treasurer role seven years ago."

Darrin coached the Division Two women's team for a couple of years, then the junior teams, and became vice-president and has been president five years.

"I still play on-and-off, mainly when teams are short of a player," Darrin said.

But it's the little kids who've captured Darrin's heart.

He coaches the three to seven-year-olds on a Wednesday afternoon and he can be there from 4.15pm to 8.30pm because he then coaches the under-11s and stays around helping the seniors.

"I love seeing how much the little ones improve from the start of the season. They're very attentive, and they love looking good in their uniforms," he said.

Hockey season is March to September, but that doesn't mean Darrin and Janine get to rest for the other six months.

"We fundraise with a pie drive and a trivia night, and it's not unusual for Darrin and I to take a day or two of our holidays to organise these," Janine said.

And you can spot them and several other Raiders Hockey Club members at the Globe Hotel each Sunday selling raffle tickets and cooking free sausages for the people who buy the tickets.

The life memberships they were awarded last year are obviously well deserved.

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