Rugby league is a sport many people enjoy to play or watch over the winter months, but for the Baker family in Eden, it is a lifestyle.
And while the Country Rugby League (CRL) held its gala dinner in Sydney on Friday night to announce the player of the year, in the Channel 10 studios across town another award was being presented.
In the audience of the rugby league show ‘The Game Plan’, was Eden Tigers Junior Rugby League Club’s Kathy Baker.
Kathy was there as a finalist for the show’s 2012 Mum of the Year, which recognised the outstanding contribution that mothers made to the sport every weekend.
As the winner’s name was announced, the cameras and spotlights turned to Kathy, who won the award and with it a $4000 Harvey Norman voucher.
Although her win may have come as a surprise for Kathy herself; as far as Eden’s rugby league community was concerned, she was a shoe-in.
For the first time that anyone can remember, Kathy was lost for words, and while on national television.
“It is such a great honour to be recognised and to be given this award,” she said.
“You don’t do it for the accolades but for the fact that it becomes an important part of your life.
“I love what I do but we have a great committee and club where everyone enjoys each other’s company, so it makes it a lot easier.”
Kathy’s contribution to the game and the Eden Tigers Rugby League Club was on show for all to see, but it was her contributions and dedication away from the game that made her such a worthy winner.
Kathy and her husband Neil have two children of their own, raise Kathy’s teenage niece and also mentor two other young boys on a weekly basis to give them guidance and family stability.
Up until July, Kathy also ran her own successful hairdressing business and still manages Neil’s building operation.
Some believe just looking after Neil, who retired as a player in 2007, is fulltime work in itself, but Kathy continues to take on the responsibilities of also being Eden’s go-to person when it comes to junior league for the club.
The Game Plan visited Kathy earlier in the year to shoot a segment about her role within the club, and that of her dedication to not only the Tigers, but the players and the sport itself.
Far South Coast rugby league is certainly better for the Bakers involvement in the sport.
“Not only does Neil work fulltime, but he is also the Tigers minor league president, which has had tremendous direction during his tenure,” CRL development officer Damian Lindeberg said.
“It’s a great opportunity to have people know exactly what goes on to put teams on the field each week, but it’s even better when people such as the Bakers can be rewarded for their efforts, not just for this year but for many years and for a long time to come.”
At the live filming of the show, Kathy was joined by Neil, children Harrison and Mackenzie, and niece Gemma.
“It was a very exciting night for us all and one we’ll remember for a long time to come,” Kathy said.
“It’s a pity were bought a new fridge and a few other items from Harvey Norman the week before I won the award, but I’m after a new lounge so the voucher will come in handy.”