This year for the first time the Club is recognizing our long serving members by awarding 100 game badges. In reviewing the membership records to determine our long serving players, I reflected on the history of our Club and my involvement which I would like to share with you. The Club was formed in May 1999 with a membership of less than 30 and four coaches. Pat Doherty, a founding member of the Club and still involved to this day, was a teacher at Caulfield Grammar’s Malvern Campus. A number of parents with children at the School got behind the Club, most notably Amanda and Leon Shapero. It was Amanda who got me involved in the Club back in 2003. At first all I was interested in was playing basketball so I joined the ladies team made up of mums with children playing for Piranhas. Amanda convinced me that I should start coaching so initially I coached my daughter’s team and later on Chris’ team. By 2005, I was co-ordinating the junior teams. I had family and friends with children at Lloyd Street School and through these connections we started getting players from Lloyd Street. So it is incredibly satisfying to know that our Club now has 435 members and 54 teams playing in the Waverley Domestic Competition and many of our players also involved in representative basketball. I am particularly grateful to Amanda Shapero for teaching my son Chris how to play basketball and in the process teaching me how to coach at junior level. A special thank you also goes to Pat Doherty for his long standing involvement in the Club and the incredible knowledge that he has passed on to me and members of the Committee from coaching through to every aspect of Club administration. Pat is our Coaches’ Advisor and available to any member of our Club for advice on a coaching issue or technical aspect of basketball.
At the junior level, basketball is one of the most popular sports and participation in the sport is increasing at a faster rate than any other sport. Basketball is played by approximately one million men and women, boys and girls throughout Australia. 25% of Australians have participated in basketball during their life and 5% of Australians provide volunteer support to basketball. Our Club is a beneficiary of this popularity with our member numbers growing by approximately 10% per annum and all our coaches are associated in some way with our members, their love of the sport attracting them to want to contribute to the development of players. It is particularly pleasing to see our older juniors taking on coaching roles and giving back to the Club. I particularly want to mention the contribution of Michael Walton who is an exceptional role model for our junior coaches and who has put himself forward to join the Committee this year, a nomination that is supported by the current Committee. Other junior players that are commended on taking on coaching roles include Jackson Batchelor, Jim Emerson, Rhaegan Hildebrand-Wise, Zac Kourambas, Austin Saba, Jordan Taylor-Wood and Emily Walton. The Club supports the development of our junior coaches through mentorship and training programs so if you are interested in taking on a role please contact the Committee.
The growth in basketball participation brings with it challenges, the main one being the infrastructure required to support this growth. Difficulties in finding appropriate venues, referees and administrative staff are the reasons provided by Waverley Basketball Association for extending the time of games on Saturdays to as late as 7.15pm and moving the Under 16 and Under 18 games to Sundays. These actions have not been popular with some members of our community and we have raised our concerns with Waverley. However, we have not been given any comfort that these issues are able to be resolved in the short term. At least through these measures Waverley has been able to accommodate all teams and this season they did not place a cap on new teams being entered, unlike the previous season. You may be interested to know that Hawthorn Basketball Association placed a cap on new teams this season as they could not absorb any increases in teams due to venue availability. This must be an issue that needs to be dealt with by Basketball Australia and Basketball Victoria as the interest in basketball continues to grow fuelled by new initiatives such as the launch of the revamped Aussie Hoops program. We are pleased to announce that our Club is now an authorised provider of Aussie Hoops programs and we are currently running a program at Lloyd Street School that has attracted 16 participants so far. However, without venues, we are limited in the programs that we can run.
A Club our size cannot function without the support of a number of people and I would like to make special mention of the contribution made by the following:
- Georgina Walton continues to work tirelessly on marketing and communication initiatives including the introduction of the credit card payment facility on our website and the design of our new merchandise. These initiatives are increasing the professionalism of our Club and we have been able to do these without increasing our subscription fees in 2015. For Georgina’s sustained contribution as well as the contribution of Steve, Michael and Emily to coaching, the Club is awarding the P.C.G Doherty Cup for service to the Club to the Walton Family this year.
- Guy Russo Jnr is a remarkable young man. Guy volunteered himself to the role of Club Administrator over a year ago. He has maintained the membership register and in a most considered way has gone about the task of collecting outstanding subscription payments. As a result of Guy’s efforts, we are in a much healthier and sustainable financial position.
- Our uniform co-ordinator, Jodi Hunt, has been a great help to me by taking over the uniform fulfilment process.
- Michael Saba has been instrumental in organizing the Sidetracked event, now in its second year.
- For several years now, Trevor Baxter has offered his services pro bono to the Club to prepare the Club’s financial statements. It is not a requirement for a club of our size to use an independent firm to audit our accounts but we appreciate the importance of having Trevor’s firm provide this level of oversight.
- Grill’d has been our main sponsor for several seasons providing us with the player award vouchers and last season we also received player award vouchers from Airstream Café.
- Finally, I wish to thank all the coaches and team managers who volunteer their time and the members of the Management Committee – Michael Saba, Patrick Doherty, Alison Emerson, Damien Crone and Georgina Walton for their continued support.
It is an exciting time for our Club as we plan for the future. In January we will be having a strategic planning meeting to identify new initiatives. If you want to be part of a vibrant and action oriented team now is the time to put your hand up for a role with our Club whether it be on the Committee or volunteering to help out in any number of ways. The time commitment is not onerous but the rewards are huge in terms of the contribution you can make.
We all look forward to another successful year for our Club in 2015.