They were teammates in Grade 8 volleyball at Seaton Secondary. Today, they are teammates as they start their golden years.
Joann Little (nee Winskowski) and Lesley Ostafew (nee Hilton) have lost touch a few times over the past decades, but volleyball is now keeping them tight for life.
They remain competitive in the Recreation Services leagues, playing in the Queen of the Court major women’s Tier 2 and the mixed Tier 3 divisions.
“We were kind of Christmas-card friends for a while so we stayed in touch and we’d meet every 10 years.,” said Little. “We golf with our husbands who used to play volleyball together.”
The two also played against one another in high school since Seaton students attended in shifts during the construction of Vernon Secondary. Ostafew went on to play junior varsity at UBC and later joined leagues in Pitt Meadows, where she was an elementary teacher. She coached school teams for 13 years and spent one year teaching and coaching in Australia, where she also competed in adult leagues.
“Lesley moved back here in 2002 and I invited her on to my teams,” said Joann, who is married for former Vernon fire captain Wayne Little. “Volleyball leagues in Vernon have always been very competitive; the choices are so good. It’s a wonderful town to learn sports.”
They were second in the Wednesday night Queen of the Court league with Joy of Sets and third in mixed with the Monday night Positive Impact. Little is a setter, while Ostafew is a setter and power hitter.
Joann, who met her hubby in art class, was involved in most school sports. She was a forward in field hockey, a guard in basketball and a setter in volleyball.
“I’ve been golfing at Spallumcheen the last 10 years,” said Joann, who retired two years ago from financial banking at RBC. “Lesley and I golf together in the Wednesday afternoon business ladies and we golf together as couples at Royal York and Spall, and when we go camping in the Kootenays and Canoe.”
Little was born in Vernon and attended Beairsto before high school classes at Seaton, Fulton and VSS.
“We were the second grad class at VSS,” she smiled.
Ostafew, who celebrates her 65th birthday today, was born in Langley. She spent one year of junior high at Dr. Knox in Kelowna.
Lesley’s second husband, Shon, is retired from the Ministry of Forests. Lesley gives Joann props for being the matchmaker.
“Shon and I dated in Grade 9,” said Lesley. “He was in Grade 11. Joann was our Cupid. After our 30th high school reunion, she said I should phone him. I did and left a message. We got married in 2002.”
Joann, a mother of two, is an artist who also enjoys gardening, while Lesley, also a mom of two, loves reading biographies and skiing.