Club snubs Norm’s efforts with life membership refusal

AN ADMINISTRATION volunteer with a list of credits as long as your arm has had his nomination for a life membership rejected by the board of Ballina's Cherry St club.

This comes at a time when Bowls NSW is calling for nominations for its 2014 Volunteer Awards, seeking those who have made a "selfless contribution to the bowling community".

Norm Stirton said his life membership rejection was on the grounds that the positions he held and the service he provided happened too long ago.

Here's what he's done with the Ballina club: a record eight positions - president, vice-president, secretary/treasurer, deputy chairman of the board, board member, mixed bowls committee member and delegate to the Northern Rivers District Bowls Association.

And with the district/zone, he's been NRDBA secretary, chairman of selectors, RNSWBA delegate, Zone One delegate, Zone One president and secretary, state councillor and Zone One's representative on the Bowls NSW board.

Service in several of the positions was as much as seven years.

"I am not the only one to have served Ballina BC without being recognised for their services," Stirton says.

"I know of many others that have fallen through the cracks, not only in my own club but every club/district/zone all over NSW."

Stirton is a life member of Port Hacking district, Zone 13, the NRDBA and Zone One. He was awarded a plaque by Bundeena club for his services.

OPINION: Volunteers vital to success for clubs, so disrespect them at your peril

THE happy club, the successful club, is one that has a ready pool of volunteers. 

A generation or so back, it was par for the course for club members to put their hand up when something needed to be done - from bar work to greens maintenance. And they did it without any thought of payment.

Unions in some instances put their foot down and insisted that paid workers be employed. But a dearth of volunteers was brought about more by the modern trend that says people deserve payment for anything they do.

Instead of putting their hand up, members put their hand out. They lost the sense of belonging that voluntary work brings.

Too often we overlook the other sort of volunteer - the one who devotes time, effort and dedication to the administrative side of our game. 

People like Northern Rivers selector Kevin Locke, who has spent 48 years of his life in a variety of essential roles in places near and far. 

People like Norm Stirton, who has served so many clubs, zones and districts for so long that he is naturally resentful his own club, Ballina, has rejected recognising what he has done for it and a lot of others.

The main reward for the work administrators put in is recognition of what they have done. To be denied it is a bitter pill to swallow.

- Jim Brigginshaw

WINNERS: Mary Chisholm and Carolyn Caine (left) took out the Tweed-Byron District Women’s Bowling Association open pairs championship. They beat Ocean Shores bowlers Barbara Sprengel and Glenys Johnston in the final.
WINNERS: Mary Chisholm and Carolyn Caine (left) took out the Tweed-Byron District Women’s Bowling Association open pairs championship. They beat Ocean Shores bowlers Barbara Sprengel and Glenys Johnston in the final.

Players' plaudits

OUR current crop of bright young hopes came home from the state junior championships at Warilla at the weekend without the bacon but with a lot of experience - and plenty of plaudits for the way they played.

Said one onlooker: "They were a credit to their clubs with their behaviour and sportsmanship, as well as their performance against older players."

Luke Jones, who played singles, won his section but went down in the semi-finals; Kit and Indi Conlon won one game and lost two; and in the fours the Conlan twins joined with Emily Griffin and Brody Bennett for a similar 1-2 result.

Date change

ONE of the more successful bowls events is Lismore Workers Heights' Super Friday pairs.

Last week, when 21 bowlers from other clubs joined the Heights contingent, it marked five years that the club has been filling its greens.

There's a change of dates for next month's Super Friday. Organiser Jim Rank says to avoid clashing with the Kyogle carnival pairs on August 1, the Heights event will move to August 8.

Club loves green

AT 112 years of age, Maryborough, Queensland's second oldest bowls club, has ventured into a synthetic green after a "terrible time" with last year's floods, then drought. It is the town's first artificial green under shade.

"Absolutely superb. We couldn't be happier," is how club chairman Rau Breust describes the new surface.

Age-old debate

SHOULD leads ever change hands for their second bowl? It's a question bowlers were asking half a century ago and are still asking.

No, says a 50-year-old magazine I saw recently. Its view: "The skip has to take responsibility for this. He should tell his lead not to change his hand unless he's asked to."

Calling the shots

I ONCE took issue with the keynote speaker at an editors' conference who said it was a sports journalist's responsibility to publicise favourably the sport he was covering, never criticise it. I argued the responsibility was to call the shots, good or bad.

In his writings in the current journal, Bowls NSW CEO Greg Helm seems to have the same sort of view as the speaker at the conference. He hammers bowls publicity officers and columnists for their "urge to criticise".

It seems to be his opinion that in the game of bowls there's nothing with which to find fault. Every bowler will give him an argument about that.



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