Johanne Cote, 49, says her four brothers got her into sports. Growing up in Montreal as the middle child, she was included in her brothers’ games of hockey, soccer and football. She confesses to being the best dodgeball player at her school — the bane of most people’s grade-school experience. She wanted to be a professional tennis player, but her mother didn’t see it. “She put me in ballet class and I hated it,” Johanne says. “My parents thought sports were for boys.”
On her own since the age of 18, Johanne put sports on the back burner and concentrated on becoming a registered nurse. Today, she works as a pediatric nurse at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center. Her interest in sports was rekindled when she made a decision to stop drinking and smoking. “I was feeling better and needed an outlet to replace my not-so-healthy habits — so I started working out at the gym and playing tennis.”
Four years ago she started playing beach volleyball, and it became her obsession. “I work hard at it,” she says. “I’m the oldest girl playing — but I’m in the best shape.” To stay that way she lifts weights, goes to boot camp at Gold’s Gym in Venice, trains with a volleyball coach and plays several times a week, preferring to play with guys because of the higher net.
Johanne says she’s been warned about getting so much sun, but says the less clothes she wears, the better she plays. “I love being out in nature with the wind and the sun. I love the feeling of being free. I’m my best self when I’m playing volleyball.”