Dedicated volunteers lift sport to new level
AFTER 28 years covering Ipswich regional sport, I'm pleased to say at least two things haven't changed.
The first is the outstanding junior and senior talent that our proud sporting city continues to produce.
The second is how dedicated many players, coaches, officials and volunteers are to their sports.
Having Ipswich Basketball and Ipswich Hockey named state associations of the year highlights the fantastic people we have and their willingness to introduce initiatives to meet challenges.
In a dramatically changing world, where it's easier to access a portable computer or mobile phone than control a ball or use a stick or racquet, many people are remaining loyal to sport.
They realise the advantages of breaking free of social media - for at least a short time - and having some fun.
Sport, in its many forms, is good for you whether playing or watching at a venue. It helps you relax and builds team spirit.
Talking to people passionate about sport remains the most satisfying part of this job.
International netballer Liz Ellis offered some of her views on the changing landscape of national sport at the recent QT-City of Ipswich Sports awards.
Her opinions - highlighted in this column last week - are valid.
However, as we near the end of another hectic year, I start thinking about 2013 proud of what the Ipswich region has achieved in sport.
I've been lucky enough to see some thrilling matches in a range of sports that have showcased our local skills.
Sure, there have been times when players have become heated and gone off at the referee or umpire. Similarly, there's been some less than satisfactory spectator behaviour on our sidelines.
The Ipswich Rugby League grand finals come to mind along with some loud-mouthed supporters at football matches I've seen.
However, those elements are in the minority. Most spectators seem to watch sport with the right attitude and appreciation of what's happening.
Without referees, umpires, coaches and volunteers, sport ceases to exist. That's worth remembering at all times.
Seeing the diverse range of achievers at the recent QT-City of Ipswich Sports Awards reinforced what I already knew.
We are a mature sporting city with some of Australia's best performers.
It was particularly pleasing seeing volunteers and officials recognised and the lifetime achievement awards thanking John Cushing, Gail Lyne and Les Kinnane.
I've been fortunate to have seen what Cushing has accomplished for hockey, how dedicated Lyne is and what a champion all-rounder Kinnane was before his premature death this year.
Losing Les was a timely reminder not to take our most reliable sportspeople for granted.
As AGMs are held around the region now and in the new year, put your hand up for a position if you have something to contribute.
We need more workers and less sideline experts to keep our regional sport strong.
Congratulations again to the recent award winners and thanks to those other quiet achievers doing so much for our city.