Shane Packard has decided to hang up his hat after 21 years of involvement with the Port Augusta and Districts Little Athletics Club (PADLAC), but not before one last surprise.
PADLAC honoured Shane with Life Membership at the club’s end-of-season presentation after serving as President for the past decade.
An emotional Shane said the recognition came as a complete shock.
“I don’t know of anyone that actually has Life Membership in the regional areas for Little Athletics,” he said.
“I don’t know whether it’s actually ever given out, but I think it’s fantastic and I really appreciate it.”
The father-of-four first joined the PADLAC committee when his eldest daughter, Laura, began participating, followed by daughter Ellie and son Joe.
With the last of his children, Annie, wrapping up her final season with Little Athletics at the start of the year, Shane decided that it was time to call it a day.
Regarded as the ‘go-to man’ by the rest of the PADLAC committee, Shane chipped in as a line marker, official, starter and liaison officer on top of his duties as president.
Shane said seeing the participants constantly improving and enjoying their athletics was what kept him involved for so long.
“Athletics is the basis of competing well in other sport. If you want to be good at other sport, you’ve got to be good at athletics,” he said.
“Little Athletics’ motto is ‘family, fun and fitness’, so I tried to keep promoting that. It’s one of those things in the community where someone has got to do it, so you step up and enjoy it at the same time.”
After attending the Little Athletics Regional Games in Ceduna six years ago, Shane organised for the following season’s games to be held in Port Augusta for the first time.
PADLAC went from strength to strength under Shane’s leadership, winning the shield at the home games and defending their crown every year since.
But Shane said watching his children compete in the Little Athletics State Individual Championships in Adelaide was the highlight of his tenure.
“Seeing your kids winning gold, silver or bronze at the state champs is pretty special,” he said.
Shane heaped praise on his committee, claiming that all successful presidents need a very good committee behind them.