The 'Greats' behind our footy greats
Two Hawthorn FC property stewards share why their connection to the club means so much to them.
But they’re not in it for the fame – they love what they do because it gives them a sense of purpose and is a great social outlet.
“We travel to all the games and carry 900kg of gear with us each week. My mother actually helps with the washing [of players jumpers],” says Freiberg who was recruited to the role 15 years ago. At the time, he was secretary of the club’s past players association.
“I took early retirement and joined Hawthorn after asking them if they needed volunteers. It’s great to be able to give something back to the club for all the enjoyment they’ve given me all my life.”
Over their time at Hawthorn FC, Lovegrove and Freiberg have made countless friends and share a particularly close bond with the coaches and players.
“I live with my 99-year-old mother, Alma, down at Rye [in Victoria] and sometimes the players drop in to say hi. Sam Mitchell and his family came by for a cuppa last weekend,” says Freiberg.
“Volunteering gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve always been active, so if I wasn’t volunteering there [Hawthorn FC], I’d be doing it elsewhere,” says Lovegrove. Freiberg suggests he’d be more at a loss: “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t at Hawthorn. I’d probably be watching a lot of telly!”
“Volunteering gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning."
Not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by family as they age. Getting involved in your community – whether or not in the form of volunteering – can be a great energy booster if you’re stuck in a rut or perhaps don’t socialise as much as you’d like to.
“It’s a big step going from the workforce to being retired,” says Lovegrove. “But people won’t help you if you don’t help yourself. Once you make the effort to get involved in what’s going on around you, it enhances your life. It makes you feel like you’re making a difference.”
“It’s important to stay active. If you’re interested in volunteering or joining a group, get in touch with your local council or senior citizens club to find out what’s on offer,” Freiberg suggests.