The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:33): On 23 February this year, I joined Gawler Mayor, Karen Redman, in speaking at the conclusion of the state junior softball championships, conducted over the previous three days by the Gawler and Districts Softball Association at Karbeethan Reserve, Evanston Gardens. As Gawler and Districts Softball Association patron and its inaugural chairman in 1982-83, I was honoured to present championship winners medals to players from Hills in the under 14 boys, under 16 boys and under 16 girls divisions; West Torrens for under 14 girls; and Sturt, under 18 girls.
I want to particularly compliment the work of the GDSA chair, Amanda 'Roadie' Unger, and secretary Sally Green for their organisation of this event and the coordination of their great team of volunteers. It was a very successful event which received great support from the overall umbrella organisation for softball in South Australia, the South Australian Softball Association. Other clubs and associations represented in the championships included Seacombe, Port Adelaide, Central Districts, Riverland, Walkerville, Glenelg, the Northern Area Men's Softball Association and, of course, Gawler and Districts.
A few weeks later I saw a Facebook post from the Gawler and Districts Softball Association which did not surprise me but is something that is indicative of what a lot of organisations have had to deal with. It basically said that Softball Australia had recommended that all softball activity cease immediately. This was dated 18 March this year. So the Gawler and Districts association decided that all of their finals games and presentations had to be cancelled. Obviously, there was mention of the health and wellbeing of all of the members, volunteers and supporters and that the advice had been taken from government health experts and Softball Australia.
As I said, it was indicative of the position that all community sporting clubs and associations have found themselves in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you, Mr Acting President, mentioned a few minutes ago, it is interesting to reflect on the fact that only a few months ago all of us in this place would go to lots of different events like that, and at the moment we are not able to, and people are not able to participate in those things.
I would note, however, that the Gawler and Districts Softball Association did go ahead subsequently with a virtual presentation night. While it obviously would not have been the same as the way they would normally celebrate, they certainly did their best.
I do want to commend that organisation on its development of young leaders. I think through the championships we saw through all the teams that, while there are some people there who have been involved in softball right through the very long time that I have—nearly 40 years—we are seeing the development of people coming through the system, not only developing skills within the sport of softball but beyond that.
I think that is something to be commended in terms of that association, the clubs and all the other groups that were involved in that event. It was the first time that Gawler and Districts had hosted that state junior championships since the early 2000s. The event was a great credit to the association in the way they organised it. I remain very proud to be associated with them as patron and their former—their inaugural—chairman.