At age 87, Tanunda’s Ray Giersch also known as ‘smiler’ is no stranger to the game of football as he clocks up over 40 years of volunteer work for his impeccable time keeping skills for Tanunda Football Club.
As a life-long member of the Tanunda Football Club, Ray was recently recognised by the AFL as a local legend of the club for his commitment and can-do attitude for multiple roles he has undertaken.
As well as time keeping, Ray has also been involved with goal umpiring, boundary umpiring and had a commentating role in his early years.
Ray spoke with The Leader about what it means to be honoured as a club legend.
“I am very honoured to be associated with Tanunda Football Club and with the AFL for highlighting me for the work I do,” he added.
“Volunteering is just one of those things I really enjoy.
“Time keeping is probably one of my favourite things to do, I have been doing it since 1980.
“Overall I have been involved with volunteering within the league for about 60 years.”
Ray said he first took on the role of time keeping following his football injury which ended his playing career.
“I played a few games up at Kapunda in 1957 and about four games for Tanunda following that,” he said.
“Then, I did my ankle in 1958 and I didn’t play again.
“Since then, I have done a bit of this and that.”
Looking back, Ray said he felt disappointed his playing career was cut short.
“I was disappointed but it’s nice that I still have a place at the club and could volunteer,” he added.
“I love volunteering at the club and I have made lifelong friends there through time keeping and through anyone I have met there.
“Everyone calls me smiler because I’m always smiling.”
Ray told The Leader he will continue to volunteer and support the club till he can’t anymore.
“I am 87, but I suppose I will keep doing it,” he laughed.
“I have enjoyed the experience over the years and it keeps getting better.”
Ray said he would encourage everyone to take up a volunteer role at their local club.
“We need volunteers in any local sport,” he added.
“Everyone has a role to play.”