I was introduced to Pauline, a NSW bus driver this morning thanks to an alert from my wife, Sue.
The introduction was through a delightful article by Jock Serong about Pauline Menczer’s induction into Surfing Australia’s Hall of Fame.
There are some sentences in Jock’s story that made a strong impression on me:
Pauline Menczer, the woman who had the world at her feet back in 1993, loves her job. Living in nearby Brunswick Heads with her fiancee Samantha, she has achieved a rare measure of peace for a retired athlete.
… a career that was built on perseverance, as much as talent.
One of four children raised by a single mum at Bronte, she was bitten hard by the surfing bug at 13; collecting aluminium cans, baking cakes and selling toffees through her high school to raise the money to get to competitions.
Pauline won the world amateur championship in Puerto Rico in 1988. She was 18. Five years later she won the world professional tour championship.
There is a great end to Jock’s article:
Surfing might finally be handing Pauline Menczer the respect she deserves. But meanwhile, it’s hit 2.45pm and Pauline needs to go. She’s got a bus to drive.
I was delighted to be introduced to Pauline. I am sorry I had not learned of her story earlier. I missed Joanne Shoebridge’s (2017) alert to Pauline’s omission from the Byron Bay honour roll.
In that article, Pauline observed of the absence of women from the honour roll:
I do care about the younger generation coming through, and there could be some young girls coming through and they look up at this wall and see a lot of men, and the women that they idolise aren’t there, so what’s that telling them? That they’re not worthy?
We should listen more to our bus drivers when it comes to the essence of egalitarian sport. The one from Brunswick Heads has a world of experience to share.