YOU know you’re loved and well-respected when your name goes up at your stadium.
Nothing speaks higher about your commitment, passion and desire to give back more than seeing your name etched into the walls for eternity.
It’s an honour bestowed to few people across the sporting landscape, but Colac Basketball Association made sure one of their most beloved stalwarts – Bev Bauer – received this honour.
While the renovations to the Bluewater Stadium were completed earlier this year, the association waited until the Country Basketball League tipped off to hold the ceremony to officially open the Bev Bauer Grandstand.
In front of her friends, family and her cherished Kookas, Bauer saw her name unveiled to an incredible round of applause as everyone stood to cheer for the woman who has stood for them for the best part of half-a-century.
“It felt just awesome – the last thing I ever expected to happen to me,” Bauer said. “Oh my god – it’s not every day something like that happens to someone.
“I was treasurer for 27 years and I’ve been on the committee since year dot and the good part is seeing the young kids all coming through, growing up and seeing their kids coming through. It’s a real highlight to me and that’s what I’m about – the young ones.
“Just like when I go to Jamborees – I just love the basketball and it’s just awesome.”
The surprises kept coming for the famously tongue-in-cheek Bauer on Sunday as her twin brother made the trip up to see the unveiling alongside his wife and one of Bev’s cousins.
It also impressed her grand kids with the Bauer brigade all keen to get her name.
“The new stadium – I had a couple of friends who worked hard to get our stadium but unfortunately they didn’t live to see it and at once stage I thought I might be joining them, but the new stadium, I walked in there thinking ‘oh my god, is this the same stadium we used to walk into’,” Bauer said. “It’s a fantastic stadium and it’s got a lot of other things in it – it’s got an added bonus in my name.
“It’s a bigger grand stand and the association they’ve been working hard to get everything up and running and we’ve got our own precious little office, so that’s even a bonus for everyone.
“It’s really funny – my grandchildren – we had four daughters so the grand children have Bauer in their second name but not their surname – they all think they’ll cross out the surnames now.”
She’s been part of the scenery at Colac anyway for most of her life… so it makes sense the association would make it official and name the grandstand itself.
“I had a nephew playing basketball and I used to go and watch him and watch him play and I would score when he was 9 and now he’s 59… so I sort of followed him all the time until I had my own kids but I just love basketball,” Bauer said. “Then I did things for the committee – wasn’t on it but did things for them before I was really sitting on the committee when my kids grew up a bit.”
But even after a lifetime of diligent work nurturing Colac’s best and brightest, Bauer remains humble and grateful to the association for this accolade.
“I definitely want to thank the association – I appreciate that someone thinks a lot of me,” Bauer said. “I’m on the committee and it was decided at a committee meeting and I was thinking ‘how can you decide something without me there’ and they told me they had to do it secretly on a hidden agenda.
“To think that they thought to put it in my name – the Bev Bauer Grandstand – it is unbelievable.”
Colac Basketball Association president Peter Lemke said there was no one more famous in the local basketball community than Bauer and she had earned this honour with her tireless involvement at all levels of country basketball.
“It’s recognition that she’s been involved with Colac basketball for over 40 years,” Lemke said. “She means a lot to us– she goes anywhere now and people know Bev Bauer… she’s the most recognisable person in Colac basketball.
“People in their 50s have been coming to the association since they were kids and all they know has been Bev Bauer on the door and she’s still there with her kids and grandkids.
“She didn’t know anything about it and we had it covered – she didn’t realise what was going on until the announcement, but Bev was very humbled and honoured to receive this.
“She just helps out any way she can – still sitting on the door getting game fees and the like this week – she’s always putting her hand up.
“She just loves basketball and does it because she loves it, but we love having her around too.”
The Kookas split their CBL results against Portland in front of Bauer and her newly grandstand as the men won 77-49 while the women were defeated 44-72.