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.’’