QRL correspondent Matt Crowhurst spoke to one of the many volunteers who help keep the game we love running every season.
In 1986, Bob Hawke was the Prime Minister of Australia, Kylie and Jason were walking hand in hand down Ramsay St and ‘Doctor and the Medics’ had their one big hit with their cover of ‘Spirit in the Sky.’
1986 was also the year that Ray Grieshaber walked into the Easts Tigers for the first time.
In the 31 years since then, Australia has had many more Prime Ministers, Kylie and Jason have long since left Ramsay St and ‘Doctor and the Medics’ have never been heard from again.
The only thing that remains the same is Ray’s unflinching commitment to the Easts Tigers.
Greasy, as he is affectionately known to all at the club, has done almost everything you can do.
From sweeping the sheds and stocking the can bar to being the strapper for the reserve grade team and being head trainer for first grade.
He was Chairman of Selectors when the club won its last Premiership in 1991.
When speaking to the man, the first thing that strikes you about him is that he is a man of passion.
He is one who has dedicated a large chunk of his adult life to volunteering his time and, seemingly boundless, energy to sporting organisations.
His stunning list of achievements is too long to document here, suffice to say he is a Life Member of no less than five Queensland or Australian sporting bodies, including his beloved Easts Tigers.
When asked what drives him to give away what little spare time he has to volunteer, given the fact he also works in the school system and is also a father; his simple answer is that he loves it.
He loves the sport, the camaraderie and the lifelong friendships you develop.
“What you put in is what you will get out. Work hard and it will reward you,” Grieshaber said, sentiments that were echoed many times in this conversation.
Volunteering can be hard, and there are of course good times and bad times, however Greasy makes the point that in more than 30 years with the club; he has seen it develop incredibly and has had the opportunity to work with, in his words “some brilliant people”.
These are the rewards that mean the most too him.
He also made the point that you do not volunteer for reasons of vanity or to get rich.
In his years with the Tigers, Greasy has seen 24 Premierships across all grades.
It is these moments along with the friendships he has forged that keep him involved, even now as he slides into ‘retirement’.
Easts Tigers Chief Executive Officer Brian Torpy, himself a Life Member with vast experience as a volunteer described volunteers as “the lifeblood of the club, we simply could not complete without them.
“We are blessed at the Tigers to have such an amazing group of volunteers who give so freely of their time week after week,” he said.
Whether you talk to players, supporters or administrators – they will all tell you that no matter what the code, sports clubs live, breathe and survive off the efforts of volunteers.
Those tireless and selfless men and women who put in countless hours away from the spot light for the club they love.
To you all, we say thank you.