It goes without saying that within every sporting organisation in Australia, volunteers play an invaluable role in making sure events and competition can go ahead.
Darts is no different.
It is thanks to a host of volunteers ploughing in countless hours, work and effort – much of which goes unseen and unrewarded, that events like the Australian Darts Championship can even proceed.
Such is the case at the 42nd Australian Darts Championship being held in Moama this week – powered by a core group of motivated and dedicated volunteers giving their all to make it happen.
Volunteers assisting with this year’s event include:
- Debbie Byrne
- Kerry Crowdey
- Alison Falconer
- John Harvie
- Betty Hislop OAM
- Debbie James
- Kelvin James
- Stuart Jones
- Colin Kassulke
- Andrew Martin
- Debbie Martin
- Graeme Rossiter
- Iris Rossiter
- Liam Saw
- Chrissy Sheerin
- Belinda Smith
- Judy Taylor
All volunteers have different motivations for being part of events such as the Aussie Champs, and for giving back to the sport and community in general.
So we decided to speak to some of the volunteers at the event to find out what it means to them to be at the Moama event and to give so much to the sport they love.
Betty Hislop OAM
“I’ve been involved in darts for 64 years and have been a volunteer at Administration level since 1961 and I have been to every Nationals from 1974 onwards.
“The main thing I concentrate on is actually looking after juniors to make sure that there’s still a sport for them to come through, and if you don’t look after all parts of the sport, it’s just not going to happen. So I coach juniors and I want the sport to still be there for when they become seniors.
“If you don’t have volunteers, you don’t get the job done. It’s important. I’ve dropped out of being a State Administrator, but it’s still important to come here and help be part of this event.
“It’s become very expensive, to be honest. I know Moama is doing the right thing, but for Western Australian’s to travel here, it’s a very expensive thing. And I was very lucky this year, because my nephew gave me my air tickets, so I was pretty lucky with that.
“I really do believe that if you’ve got something out of the sport, you should be putting something back into it. And the top players – a lot of them have had a lot out of the sport, and they should be willing to come and help.”
On how Betty felt receiving an Order of Australia Medal specifically for her service to darts:
“Embarrassed to start with, but then I accepted it because it meant they put darts front and center as a worthy cause. And because they put darts forward it was worthwhile and I accepted it with that feeling.”
“I just love it. I live for darts really and I’ve done all my life – 52 years, and I just enjoy coming down to make sure that everything is set up and works properly for everybody to have a good championship.
This year we have travelled as part of coming to the event – the last two times we came down we just drove down. We live in Maryborough in Queensland – 2000 kilometers away.
“I’d say 98% of players understand how much effort is put in – there’s always a couple that you can never please. But generally everybody has commented and thanked us for what we’ve done and we do appreciate that, but as I say we volunteer because we want to do it.
“Players do come in to us and tell us that they appreciate the work we put in to make the tournament possible around the globe and that is very much appreciated.”
“We started volunteering for South Australia because we are South Australian, just helping out because we both played darts. And I got to a reasonably high level but then I had an accident, so my darts were nowhere like they used to be and I decided to help out because no one no one does it anymore.
“I love the players, I mean that they are wonderful people and some of them can be a bit touchy and whatever but that’s the nature of the beast. South Australia’s got a couple of the highest ranked players in the country, and they’re terrific people. Absolutely fabulous people you know, and they are friends. They’re not just an acquaintance. They’re friends.
“99% of the players appreciate it – it’s like anything in human nature, isn’t it – they’re just they’re and they think it all happens, but yeah, my lot do – South Australian’s do and they know how much hard work we put in and the hours we put in that no one sees and the running around.
“I don’t ask for anything. I’m just there to help them out, and because we’re not a big community – Darts SA is quite a small community, but I just loved doing it.
“A lot of people don’t want to volunteer anymore as they’re all out there for themselves. I understand that as I was young once, but as I’ve got older, I’ve appreciated how much hard work these people put into their darts.
“We just love doing it and like I said, there’s not enough volunteers anymore – people that want to do it. And we’ll be back… we always will come back.”
Betty, Graeme and Debbie make up a part of the dedicated contingent powering the event, and they have always done and continue to do a fantastic job.
Darts Australia and all the competitors at the event are grateful for the time, effort and energy given and thank all of those helping out at this event and throughout the year within the darts community.