With Australians marking Father’s Day this Sunday, here at Netball NSW HQ we thought it pertinent to recognise the large contribution of fathers, grandfathers and father figures in our netball community.
Whether it’s supporting their children and partners from the sidelines, volunteering at their local Club or Association, coaching a team, umpiring games, or as a member of an Executive or Committee – the role men play in netball is hugely important. A great example of this is the devotion of Igor Pajuczok, previously from Bombala Netball Club, now at Bega Netball Club, and also the Coaching Coordinator for Sapphire Coast Netball Association.
The proud father of two, one of each, first became involved in netball as a player through his wife Carol.
“Bombala used to have males playing in their general competition and so Carol – who was playing at the Club – said ‘why don’t you join in’… and I learnt to love the game,” Igor explained.
“Unlike other games that men can play, there’s no pushing and shoving… it’s either skill or no skill, and that’s what I love about it.”
As his daughter Katherine became older, Igor decided to get involved in coaching to provide her with the opportunity to continue playing netball into her teens.
“I got into coaching when I was at Bombala, and they use to have junior teams in under 10s and under 12s… but after that they had nothing. So I decided to get into coaching so that my daughter could continue to be coached later on.”
Over the past two years, Igor has coached Sapphire Coast Representative Teams at the Netball NSW State Age Championships, and next year he is looking to take on a second Rep Team as well who will compete at State Championships.
“This year I coached the U/15’s, next year I will be coaching a 12/13 combined team which will play in the U/13s, but they (Sapphire Coast) are also looking at forming a U/21s team which I’ve volunteered to coach as well,” Igor said.
“A group of girls tried to make it happen last year, but were a bit late to get it off the ground… so they are keen and I’m happy to get involved if it helps them achieve their goal of playing at State Champs.”
While Igor contributes many hours to both coaching and umpiring at Club and Association level, he still finds time to support his own daughter’s netballing aspirations.
Katherine has been playing Representative netball for Sapphire Coast since she was 12 years of age, and now at 18, she plays in their Opens team.
“Katherine plays on Saturdays and also coaches, and when she goes to Rep training I go with her, as I don’t want her driving 130kms by herself.”
Igor isn’t the only father contributing so much to netball in New South Wales, and has one piece of advice to other fathers thinking about getting involved in the sport.
“Usually if they [fathers] have younger daughters, they are the most important male in their daughter’s life. They need to show and encourage them [their daughter] to do things, and you encourage them by doing it yourself and getting involved,” concluded Igor.
Netball NSW would like to wish Peter and all the fathers, grand fathers and father figures the very best for Father’s Day!