From the Record: GGGM
Gone But Not Forgotten
Club Legend Honoured by GGGM
Douglas Connor – 24th June 2017
On the 24th of May 2016 Ganmain Grong Grong Matong Football Netball Club lost a lifelong friend, club member and so much more.
This weekend the club celebrates the life of former club president Peter McCaig, as they name their clubrooms in Peter’s honour, and remember the lifetime of dedication and commitment shown by Mr McCaig to his beloved club.
Committee member and close friend, Phil Hatty spoke fondly of his friends outstanding devotion to improving the club he loved so much. “He put everything he had into the club and made it a better place,” said Mr Hatty.
In fact, Peter McCaig was the driving force behind building the very clubrooms being named in his honour this weekend. “He was passionate about upgrading the club. He didn’t delegate anything he just said to the President I’m looking after it.” “People were a bit unsure of where the club was going, whether we needed to upgrade the facilities or whether or not we could afford them. Pete was just so passionate about it, he was certain it needed to happen. He just took it on board and he made it happen.”
Mr McCaig was president of the senior club for a total of 5 years, and was involved in almost every aspect of club life, including assisting coaching for the junior club. Mr Hatty says it is difficult to describe in words the immensity of Peter’s contribution to the club over the years.
“In his own word’s he was never a ‘champion footballer, just a battler’, but his heart and his passion for the club was absolutely second to none.”
“It’s been a huge loss for the club. He did everything for the club, if it needed doing Pete just got stuck in and did it. If there was 15 different people in a room with 15 different ideas, he would speak up and everyone would leave that room completely agreeing. He solved every problem, had an answer to any situation.
“He wouldn’t want anyone doing anything that he wasn’t willing to do himself.”
Mr Hatty also spoke of the character of his friend; of his work ethic and his willingness to help a friend. He said that even for all his influence and hard work, Mr McCaig never sought accolades or recognition. “A champion bloke, a champion clubman. We won premierships where as soon as the cup was presented he was off into the background. It was about the players, never about himself. To be honest he would hate that we’ve named the clubrooms after him, he wouldn’t want the attention.”
The ‘Peter McCaig Club Rooms’ will be unveiled this weekend, and a plaque has been placed within the ground in remembrance.
Committee member Jason Hamblin is keen to extend Mr McCaigs legacy, as further developments are made to the clubs’ facilities, Pete realised that your amenities need to be up to scratch.
Visually, a club needs to look like they are going well. When players turned up and saw that effort was going into the amenities for the club, they felt special. That’s how we retain players, but also get new players in also. We aren’t the biggest town and we need that outside interest. “
The club has just completed the first stage of a plan to build a brand-new weather shed, including a BBQ area, synthetic grass and outdoor heater. The development is on course to be complete the end of the year. “We’re trying to push on with Pete’s vision for the club.”
“It gives a place for the juniors after training away from the cold, to see the seniors train. Hopefully we can fast track junior development and intertwine the juniors and seniors into one club.”
However, this development means much more to the club than a warm place to sit, with Mr Hamblin citing a variety of very important driving factors for the project. “We are trying to make footy an experience. We don’t want to have folks rock up and sit in the car and watch the footy. We want to have the areas for people to talk to their mates, interact with each other. That’s what this club has always been about. We want to start a conversation.
“When we talk about the farmers, and the depression that some of them suffer, we need to create a buddy system. Get people out of the cars, talking to each other, looking after each other.”
Mr Hamblin, who played more than 200 first grade games for the club, said that Peter McCaig was held in the utmost respect by the whole club.
“A lot of our players were very close to Pete. Someone ripped out a picture of Pete from the paper and stuck it above the door in the shed, it’s been up there since the day he passed. It’s just a scrap of paper but no one will take it down, that’s how passionate the club is about Pete.”
He also holds fond memories of the effort to build the newly named clubrooms back in 2006.
“It was the hottest summer I have ever worked. Volunteering work mind you. We were out in the heat all hours of the day; some blokes wouldn’t be out there doing that if they were getting paid. It was in the drought years, never rained from Christmas til June and we had blokes lining up to help. Bloody hot, bloody dusty, pulling that old shed down.
“Pete was there nearly all the time working for 3 or 4 months, and if he couldn’t turn up, he would pay one of the boys from the farm to go down and work on the new sheds instead!”
“40 degrees in the water bottle hot mate!”
Peter’s legacy lives on within the club through his four children, all heavily involved with the club to this day. His daughter Emily is the president of the Netball Club, and according to Phil Hatty is a chip of the old block. “She’s 21 years old, a real go getter and she is just her dad to a tee, it’s great to see.”
It is fitting that the unveiling of the clubrooms comes the same week as the matchup with old arch-rivals Coolamon, said Mr Hatty. “Pete’s postal address on the farm was actually in Coolamon and he hated that fact. The heart lied with Ganmain, but there’s a lot of people from Coolamon who loved him and respected him as much as we did.”
Mr Hamblin said the committee is focused on pursuing Peter McCaig’s vision and taking the club from strength to strength in 2017. “We’re facilitators now. My passion is in cultivating an environment for the young guys to thrive in. The blokes before me made an environment for me to play good footy in, and now it’s our turn to do that for the next generation of Ganmain players.
Pete really ingrained the message into us. Roll those sleeves up, when it’s your turn you just have to do your best for the for club.”
Phil Hatty is excited to see his best mate’s legacy in the club continue. “It’s the memory of him that keeps us going a lot, it’s what he would want.”
“As Pete would say, pick your feet up and keep walking. He’d be the first to tell us ‘get your jaw out of the gutter and keep going’”.