Athletics club celebrates head coach’s lasting legacy
LOCKYER District Athletics Club celebrated its head coach’s milestone birthday in style, with a spectacular surprise party.
The event took place last Sunday, celebrating the profoundly positive impact head coach Bailey Pashley has had on the athletes he’s worked with.
Mr Pashley said he already suspected something was in the works, but was blown away by the magnitude of the celebration awaiting him when he walked through the doors of the Laidley Recreation Centre to find it full of decorations, friends, and memories.
“From the way they insisted that I be there for a certain time, I knew there was something, I just thought it was the local athletes and their families,” Mr Pashley said.
“There were a few people I’d spoken to who pretended there wasn’t anything on, they kept a wonderful secret. Even the lady who works at the bakery, I was talking to her that morning, and she told me how busy she was baking a cake. I didn’t even work out why she was baking it.”
The club has only been active for about five years, but Mr Pashley has been involved with a range of other athletics clubs and activities in the area for more than four decades.
During that time he has mentored dozens of dedicated athletes.
Many of these past club members were in attendance at the party, which provided a perfect excuse to share stories about how Bailey’s passion and encouragement had fostered the development of the club and its member.
“It was turned into a reunion, too. They got onto athletes that had been with other clubs, and brought them along,” Mr Pashley said.
“There must’ve close to a hundred people. I walked in and saw all of these faces from past and present, it was an amazing surprise.”
Now at age 80, Mr Pashley is at a point in his life where many would consider retirement or relaxation, but he’s eager to continue assisting and inspiring the next generation of athletes.
“It was just such an exciting occasion, to be there with them all, the past and the present,” he said.
“It was really good to catch up with them all again. As one mother said: golly, there’s some talent in this room.”