She’s 70 years old and still an outstanding athlete; her talents run in the family: “Amazing how far it’s come”

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MILWAUKEE -- It's been said change is good for you -- it's certainly true for one Racine woman when it comes to opportunities in sports for women.

Several times a week, you can find high-level pickleball being played in Racine. Kathryn Berkley enjoys the competition.

 Kathryn Berkley

Kathryn Berkley

"You have to be on your toes all the time," Berkley said.

At the age of 70, Berkley is set to compete in the National Senior Olympics in both singles and mixed doubles in pickleball, and she also qualified for the 50-meter dash and 100-meter dash after winning state titles in her age group last summer.

And -- oh, by the way -- she also plays high-level tennis, basketball and softball.

 Kathryn Berkley

National Senior Games

"When I was a kid, I played like, Sandlot baseball, and some of the boys I knew played on Little League teams and I couldn't play and I'd be standing along the fence hoping they'd ask you to play," Berkley said.

Berkley isn't on the outside looking in anymore, and neither are her daughters. All four of them were tremendous athletes. Two are now college volleyball coaches -- Susie Johnson at UW-Milwaukee and Amanda Berkley at Southern Mississippi.

Susie Johnson

Susie Johnson

Amanda Berkley

Amanda Berkley

"People probably called me the tomboy and I always wore a Braves hat, so that probably didn't help. It's amazing how far it's come," Berkley said.

Kathryn Berkley's daughters

The tomboy who couldn't play organized sports growing up in Racine now has daughters whose livelihood has them working in front of thousands of fans.

Amanda Berkley will even have a well-known parent in the stands at Southern Mississippi starting next season after recruiting his daughter.

"She offered her awhile ago, and she finally said yes, so Breleigh Favre is going to play there," Berkley said.

Kathryn Berkley

Kathryn Berkley

Sports are a thread that runs through a family like the Favres down in Mississippi or the Berkleys in Wisconsin. Many of them got together recently at Susie Johnson's house.

"Over Thanksgiving, all the kids were here so she had everybody over and we played volleyball and it was kind of amazing when you think about it, how it wasn't just like family backyard volleyball. It was like, doing all the right things -- bump, set, spike," Berkley said.

Besides the girls who are doing things Kathryn Berkley never even had the chance to do in her younger days, her husband Bob and brother Tim carry the torch as well.

"The thing is, when you're playing on a team, it's not just about you. It's about the team -- and I think that's what they've gotten in life -- that it's not all about you and if you have a bad day, somebody can pick you up or whatever, and you help somebody else out," Berkley said.

Berkley gets to see that sports example play out on a regular basis between the lines of the pickleball court.

One of Berkley's most enjoyable sporting pursuits nowadays is women's softball. She has daughters and even a granddaughter on her team.