Geoff still gets the butterflies
By STEVE SPINKS
LISMORE'S Geoff Baxter is always told he should talk to the Guinness Book of Records. You see, Baxter is something of a legend in Far North Coast baseball. How's this for a record? In 43 years, Baxter has played 34 grand finals for 27 premierships. He's also getting better as he gets older. For the past 22 years he has played in every grand final, winning 18. The most recent was Norths' victory in Division 2 this month. But wait, there's more. It's not just baseball that the 49-year-old has excelled in. In seven sports, Baxter has made 84 grand finals. They include rugby league, rugby union, cricket, basketball, softball and Touch, as well as baseball. But wait, there's still more. He's also a coach of some repute. Baxter has coached 54 baseball teams to grand finals. "The funny thing is I still get nervous before a grand final," he said. "I still get butterflies in the stomach." Everyone knows that every great sports story includes the athlete overcoming injury ? and Baxter is no exception. The baseball addict has arthritic spurs in his hip that stick into his nerves, making it extremely painful for him to kneel ? let alone play competitive sport. Baxter has been told a hip replacement is needed, but he's been encouraged to keep going as long as he can. He doesn't need much encouragement, though. "I just love sport," Baxter said. "I've never been an outstanding player, but I give my best and I always ask that my team does the same." So will Baxter play again next season for that elusive 28th baseball premiership? He's not sure, but one thing is. You'd have to go a long way to beat a record like Baxter's, maybe even all the way to the Guinness Book of Records.