KNOWN as the "frisbee girl who represented Australia" across the Wimmera, Lauren Tink fondly remembers the time she was at the peak of the sport she loves.
Tink represented Australia on a number of occasions after taking up ultimate frisbee while studying at university in Ballarat.
Tink was forced to retire from the game due to logistics and travel, making the move back to the Wimmera for work.
"I would love to still be playing," she said.
"I just wanted to get back to the country. I originally started my career as a teacher in Melbourne so I could follow my frisbee when I was really getting into it.
"I decided I was happy with what I have achieved and what I had done in the sport. It was time to move back to the country and save some money."
Tink became involved with the sport during the off-season of netball.
"When I moved to university in Ballarat there was a frisbee team there," she said.
"One of my friends was playing the sport and was trying to entice me to come along and have a go.
"I wanted to keep fit after netball and thought I would go along for a run."
Tink said she was amazed at how well the players could throw a frisbee.
"They were throwing forehand and backhands and all these special overhead things," she said. "I couldn't throw it for my life. I'm pretty stubborn and pretty persistent once I start something. One I started I had to keep going back to training until I could throw the frisbee. By that time, I was hooked."
A friend approached Tink and asked if she would consider taking her frisbee to the next level.
"I was advised I needed to travel to Melbourne so I joined others who were travelling down at the time," she said.
"I went and checked it out. I was lucky enough that in my first year of playing frisbee in Melbourne I was selected as a development player in one of the national teams at the Australian championships.
"I played with them for a year, and it just progressed from there.
"The following year the under-23 selections were coming up for the Australian team, and I thought it would be a really good experience to go along to the training camps. At the time, I thought it sounded a bit silly, but I thought I would go and check it out. I was so lucky I got selected and played out the campaign."
Tink said a campaign was started for the open aged teams while she was playing in the under-23 side.
"They wanted to select the team and be training well before the event," she said.
"Again, I thought it would be a good experience to just go through the process and learn some new skills.
"I didn't get selected in the women's team, but I was lucky enough to be selected in the mixed in my first year of being old enough to play in the open events."
Tink said it was an "amazing experience" jet-setting overseas multiple times to play in events such as the 2014 World Ultimate Club Championships in Italy and the 2015 World Flying Disc Federation's World Under-23 Ultimate Championships in London.
"Representing Australia is such a surreal feeling, you can't describe it," she said.
"Standing out on the field wearing the green and gold is pretty awesome. I'd love to do it all again."
Tink said many of the games she featured in were live-streamed onto YouTube or ultimate frisbee channels.
"I love looking back and reliving it," she said
"Because the sport is still taking off, it's such a small community.
"I have friends all around the world from the sport, and I love watching each time a tournament comes on. I still feel like I'm part of it."
Tink said despite thinking her time was up with the sport, she was "so thankful" for the support she received.
"I would get text messages from back home when I would return to my motel room while playing overseas from people saying they had stayed up all night to watch the game," she said. "It was an incredible feeling - all of the support and love you got from back home.
"You would think you would get used to the feeling of being presented with your Australian guernsey, but each campaign felt as surreal as the last. It was a really big honour."
Describing the sport as like "netball, on a big rugby field", Tink said the game was intense and fast-paced.
"A lot of people explain the game as a cross between netball and rugby," she said.
"It's a non-contact sport and really fascinating because the game is self-refereed. There are no official umpires, and the players on the field manage the game."
Tink plays in the occasional tournament still, even though she hasn't officially played the sport for about two years.
"When teams are short of players I will get a call up to come and play," she said. "It's good to keep my foot in the door still, but I wouldn't want to do it all the time.
"It's so far to travel to train. In the two years since I haven't played, Australia has started up a professional league in frisbee."
Tink said it was fantastic for the development of the sport.
"It's a mixed league and quite small at the moment but its short league at the moment," she said.
"There are teams from around Australia who come together and play.
"Hopefully, it can develop into something like what America has got where there are two paid professional leagues."
Ho, Ho, Ho... while you're with us did you know you can buy a digital gift subscription to the Wimmera Mail-Times. Give the gift they'll open every day. Buy now here.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up here.