AWARDS: Watching local games leads one man to being crowned Fan of the Year.
HB Sports Awards
Geoff staggered to receive fan award
Geoff Hill thought it was someone taking the mick.
Sure, he’s become a fixture at club, representative and international sport in Hawke’s Bay over the years, but so what?
In Hill’s mind, just going along to and watching isn’t much of an achievement – what about all those volunteer coaches, umpires, referees and administrators? Surely they’re the ones who ought to get rung by Hawke’s Bay Today and told that they’d won an award -not him.
But as this newspaper’s inaugural Fan of the Year recipient, Hill ticked all the boxes and he quickly learnt that it was no crank call when sports editor Anendra Singh informed him of his win earlier this week.
“When I got the call on Monday, I thought ‘well, they’ve got the wrong phone number for a start’,” Hill said.
“Then I thought ‘wait a minute, it’s not April Fool’s Day is it? Because I knew that wasn’t far away’.
“I’m just someone who likes to go and watch sport. I don’t give a lot to it but I enjoy it, particularly at club and school level, which I think of as the base.”
Always a keen player and follower of sport, it wasn’t until his three boys went through school that Hill became a true fanatic.
Again, there’s nothing remarkable about that. Scores of parents do the same, but when their sons or daughters drift away from the game, they often do the same – but not Geoff Hill.
Hawke’s Bay Today was inundated with worthy nominations for the award but most, if not all, had a vested interest in the sport or sports they followed. Hill, on the other hand, still actively supports the schools that his boys went to years ago because he likes to see Hawke’s Bay people – at whatever level – competing in and enjoying sport.
He doesn’t do it alone though. Old friend Bill Robinson does join him around the grounds in the rugby season, but it’s his ever-present “shadow” Wilson that Hill his [is] best associated with.
“We first had a Jack Russell bitch called Pip and she loved balls and when the boys were in school teams, the balls would sometimes get lost in the bushes and the boys would call Pip and she’d find them no trouble,” Hill explained.
“She had two litters and Wilson was the last of the second litter, so we kept him. He’s not very good at finding balls, but he just gets so excited when he knows he’s going to cricket on a Saturday.
“He knows the rules and he watches the game, I think, particularly (Cornwall captain) Anton Lucas’ batting. He loves Anton’s batting and he also knows the rules about the boundary and knows not to go on the field.
“He’s been going to the cricket since he was only three weeks old and could hardly walk. He’s probably eight now, so he’s been going all his life.
Photo caption – SURPRISED WINNER: Geoff Hill of Havelock North receives the inaugural Fan of the Year award with his jack russell dog, Wilson. HB TODAY PICTURE: SARAH GULLY