VOLUNTEER: Stephanie Bortkevitch is the secretary of the Wests Netball Club. Picture: Phil HearneMANY might assume that playing netball is as simple as rocking up to the courts, popping a bib on, and getting on with the game.

And for some, it is.

But it is the people behind the scenes – volunteers like Stephanie Bortkevitch – who really make it all happen. They are the ones who organise all of the paperwork. The ones who put the teams together. The ones who sacrifice their own time to make sure the players can just get on with the business of having fun on the court.

Ms Bortkevitch became involved with Wests Netball Club when her children started playing 35 years ago.

‘‘I played netball when I was younger myself, in the Newcastle competition,’’ the club secretary said.

‘‘I have grandchildren playing now. You go along with the children for so many years, and you just end up involved.

‘‘All of our clubs are run on a volunteer basis, so we need parents to help out.’’

March is typically a very busy time of year for people like Ms Bortkevitch. If you have ever attended a sport registration day, you might appreciate how hectic it can be.

They are the calm among the chaos.

‘‘At this time of the year we have a really big, big job because we have all of the registrations to organise,’’ she said.

‘‘There are two full days of registrations, and then it’s all about compiling the teams.

‘‘We usually have about 60 teams, with about 10 people in a team, so we cater for about 600 people playing in the Lambton and New Lambton area.’’

Many people probably don’t realise how much work goes on behind the scenes to get the teams on the court.

‘‘All the paperwork takes a lot of time,’’ she said.

‘‘You have to be so careful these days. You have to have all of your members insured. It gets harder. Itshould get easier, but it doesn’t. But I do really enjoy doing it all.

‘‘I was raised in a very sporty family, so it’s just something I’ve always been happy to be involved in.’’

Ms Bortkevitch is also on the committee for Newcastle Netball Association. Of a Saturday afternoon, she also coaches a People With Disabilities (PWD) team for Wests.

‘‘We have one PWD team and they play in the Newcastle competition, and there are about six teams involved in that,’’ she said.

‘‘I am their coach, but we don’t really train – they are very busy and always out and about. But it is a very rewarding job.

‘‘I’ve probably had this same team for about 15 years now. They don’t really worry too much if they miss a goal or a pass because they are just playing and having a good time.’’

Ms Bortkevitch attends the Wests Netball clubhouse at least four nights a week. She makes sure the clubhouse and the toilets are open, answers questions, and provides any first aid if it is needed.

‘‘It is a lot of work, but after all the hours you put in you can see what you’ve achieved, that you have done something towards helping these girls all play netball.’’

VOLUNTEER: Stephanie Bortkevitch is the secretary of the Wests Netball Club. Picture: Phil Hearne