GOOD SPORTS

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Some­one’s got to do it, An­drew Laird says.

The Cen­tral City Base­ball coach has been vol­un­teer­ing for sports clubs for more than a decade across both the di­a­mond codes of soft­ball and base­ball.

Laird is one of the ma­jor play­ers be­hind the scenes at Cen­tral City Base­ball and has been in­stru­men­tal in work­ing to es­tab­lish the club in cen­tral Auck­land.

‘‘It just needs to be done so you just do what you do,’’ he says.

‘‘We don’t want recog­ni­tion we just want the kids to suc­ceed and get them to col­lege.’’

His own fa­ther vol­un­teered his time to Lions clubs for many years but it’s not some­thing any­one ex­pects to get recog­nised for, Laird says.

‘‘What I do is repli­cated down at the Ram­blers or Metro [soft­ball clubs] and at ev­ery other sports club – they are all do­ing ex­actly the same thing.’’

There is a short­age of di­a­monds in Auck­land, some­thing which has left clubs search­ing for years for grounds.

Base­ball clubs spend days each sum­mer as­sist­ing Auck­land Coun­cil staff to set up their grounds, he says.

The club is work­ing with the coun­cil to get per­ma­nent fix­tures in­clud­ing a wire mesh net to re­place the eas­ily van­dalised tem­po­rary ny­lon field net­ting that pro­vides cru­cial pro­tec­tion for spec­ta­tors at Mt Roskill’s Fearon Park.

The net­ting was slashed by van­dals as re­cently as last De­cem­ber ( Cen­tral Leader, De­cem­ber 19).

It was a cruel blow for the club af­ter years of per­se­ver­ance to cre­ate suit­able grounds for the team.

But there are plans afoot to bet­ter ac­com­mo­date the club at both its home base in Fearon Park and other cen­tral lo­ca­tions, which Laird will con­tinue to work tire­lessly to see through.

‘‘It won’t be grumpy old men or women that de­ter­mine the path­way of base­ball and where it goes as a sport – it will be the chil­dren who cre­ate the path­way,’’ he says.

Base­ball is a sport that can give back to its play­ers through schol­ar­ships to uni­ver­si­ties in the United States but is just start­ing to get go­ing in New Zealand.

‘‘It’s a pure num­bers game – the more kids you pour in one end the more tal­ent you get out the top end.’’

The club is join­ing forces with Metro Soft­ball Club in or­der to of­fer both codes to young­sters.

But more play­ers mean more vol­un­teers are needed to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in and there is a short­age of good sports across all codes who are will­ing to do it, he says.

‘‘You’ve got to put a bit of time in for kids to try and get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit and en­joy­ment out of it.

‘‘If we can bring back ed­u­cated peo­ple to New Zealand as a re­sult of this sport then we’ve done our job.’’

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