A love of sport leads Masters Games athletes towards lasting romance
Di Crampton and Mark Schiller met at the Masters Games 11 years ago. (ABC Gold Coast: Caitlyn Gribbin)
Athlete flings might be fairly common during big events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, but it turns out that it is not just young sportspeople seeing the sparks fly at sporting tournaments.
The Masters Games, for those aged 30 and older, is also a romantic occasion, as Di Crampton found out 11 years ago.
The Gold Coast woman had her eye on a man from the south.
“It was awesome, just awesome. Everything just worked out perfectly,” Ms Crampton said.
At the 2007 Masters Games in Adelaide, she met Mark Schiller. He was technically there for the hockey and love was an unexpected bonus.
“It’s so much better than going to a pub, your chances are so much higher,” Mr Schiller laughed.
“She was just a bubbly personality, just out there, it was great. It was totally different from other people I meet and it was just fantastic.”
While the pair’s Masters Games relationship has blossomed, other athletes apparently prefer keeping things low key.
“Some are friendships I guess and some are a little bit more,” Ms Crampton said.
“Some don’t see one another or have any communication for that 12 months [between tournaments] and then you see them together and having an absolute blast.”
Married at the Masters two decades ago
Paul and Tina McBain were married in 1998, the day before a Masters Games tournament. (Supplied: Paul and Tina McBain)
Brisbane husband and wife Paul and Tina McBain also met at the Masters Games.
“I was with another young lady and Tina comes up and plants a big kiss on me at the table and then runs away,” Mr McBain recalled.
Mrs McBain said she “had inside contacts to say that he was the one”.
“It’s like an old people’s Schoolies. What happens at Masters stays at Masters,” she said.
Tina and Paul McBain are on the sidelines of the Masters Games this year. (ABC Gold Coast: Caitlyn Gribbin)
Soon after meeting, they were married, choosing to hold their wedding the night before a Masters Games tournament started.
Their honeymoon? Eight days of softball.
Now, the McBains say they are taking every day as it comes, as two brain tumours mean Mrs McBain is on the sidelines this year.
But the couple just could not miss an event that has given them so much.
“Unending love, I think,” Mr McBain said.
The McBains are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary this year.