By SANFL Media
Cathie Smith really takes the cake when it comes to volunteering as far as the Central District Football Club is concerned.
But it’s not just her baking skills that have earned the lifetime Bulldogs supporter a nomination for the 2021 SANFL Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year.
While Cathie has become a club legend for baking birthday cakes for every player, that’s just a small slice of what she does behind the scenes at the club.
She has spent more than 14 years volunteering with the Club, assisting with everything from the heritage committee and administration to match day canteen duties and fundraising.
“Cathie works all day in the office every Tuesday assisting all departments in an administrative capacity, but her output is so much more,” said Central District Game Development Coordinator Tom Javor.
“She does the work of a full-time employee and does it for the love of the club, the players and people.”
In an average week, you can find Cathie doing anything from making membership packs, catering meals and desserts, organising raffles, assisting new recruits and clubhouse upkeep. She’s also knitted over 300 beanies for players and staff.
However, Cathie admits that she is probably most loved for her baked goods.
“I see making birthday cakes as a simple way of reminding the players that they’re thought of and they’re playing for the best club in the SANFL,” she said.
As Cathie describes it, her love-affair with the Bulldogs started somewhat grudgingly.
“It was 1970 and it was my little brother’s birthday,” Cathie said.
“My mum had promised him that she would take him to a football game and that I had to drive them both there. I was initially unwilling to go, but quickly into the first quarter of the Central District (game) against Woodville West Torrens, I realised I was hooked.
“The atmosphere of the game was something I had never experienced before. It wasn’t even a final, but the crowd was electrifying to be a part of. The pace of the game was exhilarating, it seemed like the players were fearless.
“From that moment on, I was the one at home bugging mum to take us to every single Centrals game.”
It’s a passion that Cathie has continued to follow 50 years later, and one that she’s also introduced to her entire family.
“Ever since the 2000 Premiership, my sister and I have been doing small things like rolling posters or baking cakes,” Cathie said.
“It’s really snowballed from there. Now I work every Tuesday at the club’s office digitising and cataloguing records and pictures for the heritage committee.
“I love everything I do with the Bulldogs, none of it is arduous. All I’m doing is giving back; they’ve filled my life with so many happy memories. From that very first game to now has been pure enjoyment for me and I just try to give back a little of what the club has given me.
“At the heart of Central District is a loyal and caring community of people, and I just hope to play a small role in that however I can.
“I’m surrounded by a highly supportive group of players, staff and other volunteers. It’s a job I look forward to every single day.”
The club admits it couldn’t do without Cathie and other volunteers like her.
“She bleeds red, white and blue and simply does not miss a game, an opportunity to help, an event or even a chance to lend a hand,” Tom Javor said.
“Cathie is the epitome of the Bulldogs.”
If you know a volunteer like Cathie at either your SANFL or community club, or an administrator of a local league, there’s still time to nominate them at www.sanfl.com.au/volunteer. Nominations close on July 13.
The 2021 SANFL Statewide Super Volunteer of the Year will be presented in August, with eight shortlisted nominees each receiving the following prizes:
In addition to the above, the overall winner will receive:
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