Long after – or before for that matter – the players, coaches, umpires and spectators leave the oval, there are those still working behind the scenes to make it all possible, without any reward or prize for their persistent hard work.
But Erica Roberts – the 2016 winner of the Darwin Baseball League’s Good Sports Award for her commitment as Secretary – is in it for a lot more than recognition.
“When you see a child run around the bases and get home, it’s the best thing to see their beautiful smiles – you see this in the senior league too,” Erica said.
“I am driven and motivated by helping people and love seeing them learn and strive, and of course reach their goals.
“More importantly, I want them to be happy.”
Erica’s generous spirit and stems from an inspirational relationship she shared in her first season playing baseball with the team’s pitcher, Billy Brown who tragically passed two years ago.
“(Billy) had been with the club for a long time and he clearly knew what he was doing.
“I was playing first base in my very first year of playing baseball as he came off the mound, put his hands on hips and as if no one else were in our presence, instructed me to do this and do that.
“It wasn’t all pleasant but it certainly wasn’t all that bad either.
“After the game he gave me his personal softball to put in my glove to ensure it stay rounded.
“Every time I play first base I think of him. Billy is my inspiration, my motivation and I am more confident playing baseball now than ever before.
Baseball isn’t the first sport that comes to mind for many Australians but Erica fell in love with the game only two years ago which has now become a family affair.
“One of my girlfriends asked me to throw a ball in the backyard one day and try one baseball training season – from that day on I loved it and my husband decided to join too,” Erica said.
Darwin Baseball League Club President Mark Macdonald also leads alongside Erica in volunteering to help the league, and credits the Good Sports program for being a driver in helping the sport.
“(It’s important) being part of an organisation that promotes Good Sports values which gives players and supporters comfort that the association is heading in the right direction in looking after its members and also providing a family-friendly environment,” Mark said.
“It is also another avenue that we can promote our Sport in Darwin where being a low-profile sport, any extra exposure that we get will help build the league.”
For Erica, winning the Good Sports award means a lot more than just receiving recognition that is barely fitting for her dedication and passion for the club.
“This award means a lot,” Erica said. “My family are always there whether we are driving to and from baseball; whether that’s to my husband’s and my training, or our son’s Northern Territory Academy training.
“I (also) thank my club which are like our family and to the Darwin Baseball League who have opened their arms to our family too.”