VOLUNTEERS are the backbone of local sporting and community clubs – that’s a fact.
However, in today’s society the number of people willing to dedicate free time to their clubs has dropped significantly, and the same volunteers have been relied on over and over.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a number of these people, who have contributed a large portion of their lives to their clubs, and we need to start seeing the next generation filter through.
Gawler Central Football Club’s Dean Tobitt was one of these, and has been a key part of the Tigers for 50 years.
He was a player, a coach, a team manager and he’s the current secretary, having served in that position for over 22 years.
Mr Tobitt was rewarded this year with a nomination for SANFL Volunteer of the Year, and it was a well-deserved nod.
That made me think – where will the next Dean Tobitt will come from?
Someone who will dedicate a significant portion of their life to their club simply out of a love for the game, and for the people around it.
The sad truth is, in modern day society, we will probably never see someone quite like him.
I can concede as a teenager playing at South Gawler, I simply hated the idea of being the water boy for my team-mates, or working in the canteen and ‘getting nothing out of it’.
Quite frankly, if I could go back, I’d slap that teenage me across the back of the head.
I had way too much arrogance about myself to even think about running out and doing that for a bunch of blokes I’m supposed to support, so realistically, I was part of the problem.
However, after talking to people like Mr Tobitt, I came to realise how rewarding that can be.
You become someone that sticks around, and you’re doing something good and making a difference.
So, from the current version of me, I urge anyone that is involved, from the under 13s all the way to the seniors, to do your part at your club if you’re not already.
Trust me, if I could have my time again, I’d do it much differently.