AFTER 19 years on the Bega Squash Club committee, 17 as president and two as treasurer, Dennis Curtis has decided to take a step back and hand over the reins.
Mr Curtis said the time was right for the club to be led by a younger member.
He said his role as president of the Bega Squash Club was made easy because of the other people on the committee and the club in general.
“There were many helpers, so it was never a chore to be president,” Curtis said.
Curtis first started playing squash about 30 years ago at the old squash courts in North Bega.
He still to this day plays local competition squash and believes it is a great sport because of the people who play and are involved with the sport.
“It is enjoyable because wherever you go, the sportsmanship and camaraderie is always there,” he said.
“It’s an easy sport to play in that all you need to turn up with is a racquet, there’s not a lot of gear required, fields to mark, so it is a simple sport to participate in and is good for fitness.
“I especially like the fact that although you are part of a team, you are also on the court playing as an individual so you’re responsible for what happens, you control your own destiny on the court.”
Curtis has gained satisfaction from the “odd” success he has had as a player, whether it be in a local competition, club championship or in a Masters comp held in NSW or the ACT.
After 13 years straight as president, he did not seek re-election, but is still involved with the committee as trophy coordinator.
He lists relocating the club to the Bega Country Club as one of the highlights during his time as president.
“When the courts in North Bega were sold to the cheese factory we had to find a new home, so I was part of the delegation to meet with the Bega RSL committee to propose an extension and re-furbishment of the courts at the country club.
“We had to convince the RSL it would be worthwhile to build two extra courts and make a commitment to keep the competition going for five years with a strong membership.
“So it is most pleasing that we have managed to maintain more than 100 members throughout this entire time as a lot of other clubs have struggled to maintain participation rates.
“There has been a decline in the number of people playing squash, so this is one of our biggest achievements.”
Personally, being awarded life membership of the club has been a highlight and he has picked up the award for Club Person of the Year three times and said he was fortunate to receive the Peter Eaton Consistency Memorial Award.
“Two things that stick in my mind the most are presenting the inaugural Peter Eaton Memorial Award to worthy recipient Robert Blacker and being asked to present a tribute on behalf of the club at Col Ferguson’s funeral.
“Col was one of the original club members so it was a privilege for me to do this.
“Also, from a club perspective, it is rewarding to know that the Bega club is more recognised throughout the squash organisation, especially in NSW with the inaugural Bega Open established two years ago.”
Another “unexpected thrill” for the club was when member Troy Northey was selected to represent Australia in a Masters Trans Tasman Test series against New Zealand in New Zealand.
He believes his replacement, Matt Taylor, will ensure the club continues to run smoothly.
“It’s time for the club to have a new face and new ideas to reignite peoples’ enthusiasm,” Curtis said.
“Most importantly I thank all the people, both on the committee and in the club, throughout the duration of my presidency who have helped in any way as all the achievements we have made haven’t been my doing, it’s been a combined effort from everybody.
“This has greatly benefited the club and will continue to do so in the future.
“Thank you for your support and friendship, the club is absolutely in good hands and I wish the committee all the best,” Curtis said.