John Connolly looking fitter and healthier since tackling the challenge of ageing well on the Coast.
John Connolly looking fitter and healthier since tackling the challenge of ageing well on the Coast.

Knuckling down to a good life in the sixties

FORMER national and international rugby union coach turned councillor, John Connolly, 68, spoke to Seniors News about how he is enjoying ageing on the Coast.

He's like a lot people who led a very active life in their younger years.

The aches and pains from past injuries and breakages have taken their toll on him, but they haven't diminished his love for living life in the moment.

How are keeping fit?

I go to the gym and swim, but not every day.

In the last 12 months I have lost about 25 kilos.

I have always played a lot of sport, but I ate too much and it got away from me. I was always solid, but when you do less exercise, it's a problem.

A doctor mate of mine was at lunch with me about 12 months ago He said, 'John I have a question for you. How many fat buggers do you know that are over 70?'. I said, good question doc. It jarred me into doing something.

I have also had a hip replacement about 12 months ago.

What is ageing like for you?

I have three boys - 37, 36 and 15. The 15 (year old) keeps you young and you know, it's much harder bringing up kids now than it was 25 years ago.

When I was 57 I semi-retired for a few years, but since I got into Council, it's been good. You know, if you don't use it, you lose it. You've got to keep active, having goals and reasons to get up in the morning whether it's work, charity work or volunteering.

I feel just as sharp and energised as I was 30 or 40 years ago. And, life experience keeps you going.

Any regrets?

I try not to spend too much time looking in the rear-view mirror. I try to move forward to the next thing that I want to get involved in whether it be travel or doing well in Council.

If you have problems, sometimes you can't do anything about them.

Learning to live in the now is important as you get older.

Did you have any other sports?

I was an A-Grade cricketer when I was 16. I got into rugby union by accident, but cricket was my first love.

If I have a regret, it's not taking advantage of the opportunities I was given at a young age.

At 18 I would go out with my mates and have a few drinks and the next day you had to go out and play A-Grade cricket.

It wasn't a good way to prepare, but I had no one to grab me by the collar, clip me around the ears and say, 'Listen, get your head down and do this'.

What about your nickname?

Knuckles? That comes from a past life. It was a different world in those days.

Are you still involved in rugby union?

Journalists ring up for comments all the time because I coached Australia. I watch it with interest.

I had someone ring me up the other day asking me if I was interested in coaching in Europe again. I said you never say never, but it's probably unlikely. If they have asked you, they have probably asked plenty of others.

It's always good for the ego when they ring up and ask.

When will you retire?

I haven't thought about stopping. There is another election in March and I have put my hand up for that.

Why live on the Coast?

Every time I go to Brisbane I look forward to coming home. When I was in Japan recently I looked forward to coming home.

It's the lifestyle, the beaches and the fantastic hinterland. I haven't got one favourite place; I enjoy the lot.


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