Stalwart recognised for service to primary school sport
LES Berryman is one of those selfless people who will always put his hand up to do a job.
That willingness has seen him hold a host of positions within the ranks of primary school sport in Central Queensland.
His resume is extensive, the influence he has had on countless young athletes immeasurable.
His enduring service has long been admired and was recently recognised when he was presented with the Col Jones Memorial Award.
Mr Berryman, the deputy principal at Crescent Lagoon State School, said he was humbled by the honour.
He had no inkling he would be the 2020 recipient.
It was announced by Megan Slean, chairman of Rockhampton District Friday Interschool Sports.
“It was a very nice surprise. They kept it from me pretty well,” Mr Berryman said.
“I had no idea whatsoever until Megan started reading out a resume and I started thinking, ‘Wait a minute, that’s me’.
“I’ve always had a love of sport and getting out there and coaching kids.
“It’s something that as teachers we do. We’re here for the kids; we want to see them succeed and you want to give them those opportunities.
“It’s an honour to be part of that; watching them progress and go on to rep sport and further but also seeing them grow up and become the people they are.
“I’ve always been a team sport type of guy so when you get recognition as an individual it’s very humbling.”
Mr Berryman said the one thing he liked to teach competitors in any code was tenacity.
“That’s my philosophy - don’t give up and just give 100 per cent,” he said.
“If you can walk off the field and tell me you’ve given everything you’ve got, that’s all I can ask for.”
Mr Berryman said he had so many incredible memories of his involvement with primary school sport, which started with his appointment as PE teacher at Crescent Lagoon in 2002.
Among his fondest are the swimming relay carnivals he convened and a rugby league grand final victory in 2014 when Crescent Lagoon joined Allenstown to win the A division title against some much bigger schools.
More recently, the Crescent Lagoon footy teams won both the 5C and 6C divisions in the Rockhampton Primary Schools Rugby League competition.
Mr Berryman said the thrill those players got was amazing and was a wonderful reward in itself.
“Those kids were ever the moon they’d won the grand final; they were very excited,” he said.
“Every grand final you go to is always special and it’s interesting to see how the kids take a win and how they take a loss as well.
“I’m looking forward to next year when we can get back to normal and we can have parents back at the sporting fields celebrating their children’s journeys.”
Ms Slean said Mr Berryman was a deserving recipient of the award.
“Les consistently demonstrates a passion for sports in general and working towards keeping interschool sport in the Rockhampton region,” she said.
“He is supportive, resilient and always welcoming... and is highly valued by students and his peers.
“For all the years that Les has been involved in volunteering roles in Rockhampton District Friday Interschool Sport, he has truly made a difference.”