League of her own: Dooley's isolation games
As sporting events around the world are cancelled and postponed, Josie Dooley has put her creative talents to good use to help fill the void
17 April 2020, 10:03 AM AEST
Australia’s cricketers have been embracing new skills and hobbies during this period of self-isolation, but it is fair to say few have gotten as creative as Josie Dooley.
The Queensland and Melbourne Renegades wicketkeeper has taken alone time to a whole new level, inventing the ‘World Isolation Games’ to fill the void left by the postponed Tokyo Olympics, sharing her new feats of athleticism with the world via a series of videos.
There’s not a cricket bat in sight – but there is plenty of humour – with Dooley embracing a host of new sports, competing only against herself (and the occasional family member or dummy).
There’s the Kath and Kim inspired race walk, weight-lifting toilet paper for gold, and perhaps most impressively, she somehow completes all five disciplines of the modern pentathlon using random items from around her house. Chloe Esposito, eat your heart out.
Asked what had inspired the series, Dooley says it was simply to give herself a sense of daily structure in the ‘new normal’.
With no cricket, and unable to indulge her love of surfing, she spent her first week of isolation at her family’s Brisbane home on the couch, endlessly staring at her phone.
"That first week, I was just sitting on the couch literally on Twitter every hour," Dooley told cricket.com.au.
"I could have told you what number (of coronavirus cases) we were up to, I was just so invested in all the stats and everything with the virus and it consumed me a bit.
"I definitely needed to do something else, I was going crazy.
"The videos are good because I wake up real early, get my fitness work done and then I can get into the filming and editing, which pretty much takes up the whole day.
"It’s nice, because it gives me a routine."
Dooley manages to be the athlete, the referee and spectator all at once – after all, that’s the world we’re living in.
Adding a degree of intrigue is the fact she does not always let herself win; as it stands, her medal tally from six events is two gold and two silver.
Impressively, the 19-year-old is not only the reluctant star of her videos – Dooley insists she prefers being behind the camera – but she is also filming (with some help from family members) and editing, with each video taking a full day to create.
"I really enjoy photography and film and I’ve always had an interest in making videos," she said.
"I do want to eventually get into film and stuff when cricket’s over.
"I’m mostly enjoying the editing, I find it really fun.
"I’ve got three different cameras going and I set them up on tripods and my mum helps out.
"The first week she had no idea about cameras at all, so I had to set everything up and all she had to do was press on and off … but she’s getting a lot better on the camera. She’s the costume and prop creator too."
For her latest installment, launched on Thursday evening, Dooley called on some friends to remotely help her complete the 4x100m relay – with Australian bowlers Georgia Wareham and Tayla Vlaeminck and fellow Renegade Maitlan Brown joining the Isolation Games.
Dooley, Brown and Wareham all play together at the Renegades, while Vlaeminck – Wareham’s housemate – is a former ‘Gade turned Hurricane.
Brown and Wareham have a creative endeavour of their own, launched during WBBL|05 – read more about ‘Brownwolf’ here – with Brown’s design skills called upon to create a logo for the World Isolation Games.
And if the voiceover on the videos sounds familiar, that’s because it belongs to Dooley’s Queensland teammate, former Australia quick Holly Ferling.
Dooley has several more sports planned to complete the Games and is already brainstorming her next isolation video series.
She hopes to carry on the idea, in some format, until the start of WBBL|06.
"I’m hoping it’ll still be going by Big Bash, so the three of us (Dooley, Brown and Wareham) can get together in Melbourne and do more stuff, which will be fun," she said.
To matters on the cricket field, Dooley says she’d glad she made the move from the Brisbane Heat to the Renegades last season, which she pursued in order to have more opportunities behind the stumps.
"I love Melbourne, it was really nice living away from home for the first time for a couple of months," she said.
"Personally, as a team I thought we never played our best cricket so it was pretty cool we were still able to make semi-finals.
"I’m really excited for the next season. We’ve got a really good squad, personally I was happy with some aspects, not so happy with others but it was great learning throughout the season and I had a great time.
"It’s a really fun group to be around, we’ve got Maito, Wolf (Brown and Wareham) and people like Molly Strano and Sophie Molineux, so it’s a pretty incredibly environment to be around and I was very happy I made the move."