Cobram Roar FC volunteers keep club running

By Madi Chwasta

Cobram Roar FC volunteer John Pauw has spent countless mornings during the past 15 years doing the off-field jobs you wouldn't even think of.

“I'm usually there at 7 am on game day at the home games,” he said.

“I make sure the lines are marked, I go get the rubbish bins out and I help cook breakfast.

“But my main job is to clean up at the end of the day.”

He started volunteering for the club when his sons Mike and Jeff began playing, along with his wife Dorean, and said it had been an overwhelmingly fulfilling experience.

“You make lots of friends other than what you usually would,” he said.

But most importantly, he said sport in Cobram wouldn't go ahead without the volunteers who did all the jobs on the side.

“Most volunteers don't do it to get tickets or anything — they do it because they want to help out,” he said.

“That's the same as me.

“If all the parents do a little bit here and a little bit there, it helps for any club.”

Cobram Roar FC co-secretary Christine Osborne said there were more than 50 volunteers at the club who ranged in age from 14 to more than 60 years old.

These volunteers are coaches, team managers, fundraisers and cleaners.

She said other than Mr Pauw, other notable volunteers included Tony and Alicia Sorrenti and Charlie and Frank Gattuso.

Early in the morning: Cobram Roar FC volunteers Tony Sorrenti and John Pauw preparing the field for a game.

Mrs Osborne said while the club relied on the efforts of their volunteers, it created a vital sense of community for those involved.

“Our club would not survive financially if we had to pay for everything our volunteers do,” she said.

“Volunteering brings people in our club together — they work hard, but they have a lot of fun along the way.”

Even though COVID-19 has devastated game-play, the volunteers have continued their work in preparation for the new season.

“Our committee has been working behind the scenes during the COVID-19, planning for the reintroduction of sport,” she said.

“Our coaches have also been finding creative ways to keep connected and keep their players fit."

Cobram Roar president Manny Artavilla wanted to extend a thank-you to all the volunteers for keeping their organisation running.

“Our volunteers are all busy people, but they believe in the club and the benefits it provides to our kids and the community,” he said.