THE Hamilton Basketball Association (HBA) has recognised two of its long-standing volunteers, Fiona Cameron and John Walter, both receiving life memberships.
The pair was voted life members at the last annual general meeting for the contribution within the association.
Cameron has been a familiar face around the association as a part of the HBA committee, helping squad teams, serving several roles for St Mary’s and much more.
Despite all her hard work and dedication, it still came as a surprise when she received a phone call from HBA president, Dean Miller.
“It was quite a surprise when Dusty rang me,” Cameron told The Spectator.
“Initially I was a bit speechless and sort of didn’t know what to say.
“I feel very honoured to be awarded a life membership of the association, it’s something I will treasure and I thank the association for the award.”
One of Cameron’s past roles with the HBA was as president, and she has seen first-hand what it takes to be awarded a life membership.
With the knowledge of the criteria and prestige of the award, she was humbled to have her name next to association legends.
“Having served as president of the St Mary’s basketball club and the HBA, I have been through the selection and approval process of awarding life memberships and know full well that it is something that isn’t handed out lightly,” Cameron said.
“Being recognised for your contribution is heart-warming, so being awarded a life membership means a lot to me.”
Life membership was never something Cameron worked for but continued to stay involved for the love of the game.
Not picking up the game until later in her schooling life, Cameron fell in love with basketball and felt comfortable taking the court.
Picking up the game later than others, she knew she had her work cut out for her in order to reach the top division.
She worked tirelessly and developed an education and understanding of the game like few others.
“It was never something I sort after (life membership),” Cameron told The Spectator.
“I fell in love with the game in high school but didn’t really get the chance to play until after uni when I moved back to the Hamilton area.
“I was just enjoying playing and improving my skills, but I had a lot to learn having never played as a junior.”
Going from playing alongside friends, Cameron continued to progress through the ranks on and off the court.
Being part of St Mary’s helped her step out of her shell and move through administration roles at the club and the association.
When she wasn’t playing and trying to better her own game, Cameron would be by the side of Hamilton’s young basketballers sharing her knowledge.
“The friends I have made through the game have been just as great as playing the game itself,” she told The Spectator.
“Being involved with a strong club in St Mary’s probably helped me have the courage to get involved more in the administration side of things.
“As the years rolled on, I was encouraged to have a go at some coaching and found it something that I enjoyed.
“In all the sports I’ve played I have always enjoyed passing on my knowledge to the juniors of the sport.
“Seeing others, teammates both senior and junior players develop their skills and love for the game has been rewarding.”
Cameron’s knowledge of the game was evident as a player and a coach with Hamilton’s squad basketball teams, where she represented the women’s team and helped coach the men’s side.
Some of her career highlights come from the squad side of the game, where she led Hamilton in the old Green Triangle format.
“There are probably three memories that stand out in my mind,” she said.
“Wining the division one grand final with St Mary’s, playing in back-to-back women’s Green Triangle wins, but the best memory would have to be being a team manager and assistant coach for the men’s Green Triangle team.”
Being a student of the game, Cameron looks up to many former administrators and said the list of people who helped her along the way would be extensive.
That said, three HBA life members stand out as people whose footsteps she tried to follow and she now sits beside them as association greats.
“There would not be a long enough article to mention everyone and I really don’t want to single anyone out as there has been a hell of a lot of people that have influenced my basketball journey,” she said.
“The main people I looked up to that already had life membership probably would be Chuck Loomer and Cheryl and Kevin McGrath.
“There are so many others too numerous to name that have influenced my basketball journey along the way both in a playing, referee and administration capacity.
“There are past presidents of St Mary’s and the HBA, many senior referees and coaches at club and association squad level and many fellow players.
“There are probably a few standouts and they will hopefully know who they are.”
Cameron’s body no longer allows her to play, and while she has taken a step back she hopes to continue being involved.
“I would just like to thank whoever nominated me for life membership and also the HBA for granting me the award,” she said.
“Sadly, the body won’t allow me to play anymore so my playing days finished a quite a few years ago.
“I remained coaching and scoring up until this crazy situation we find ourselves in, in 2020.
“(I’m) not sure that I will continue coaching in the future as other interests are now a part of my life moving forward, but I would still score in finals if I’m available though.
“It’s nice to be recognised for my contribution to a sport that I have loved being involved with and will continue to love even if it’s mainly as a spectator these days.” Walter now lives interstate and was contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for print.