Chris Baratto recognised for decades of service to sport

Chris Baratto has taken out the Bob Barr Memorial Award for his services to sport. Photo: Ben Rodin
Chris Baratto has taken out the Bob Barr Memorial Award for his services to sport. Photo: Ben Rodin

Having played all those sports, you just go on after you've played to be involved with a bit of coaching or administration. It's never bothered me at any stage to put in that little bit extra, because you knew if somebody does it the sport would carry on... Sports don't run by themselves.

Chris Baratto

In an extended year of nominees, Chris Baratto has taken out the Bob Barr Memorial Award for his services to sport.

Baratto has been involved in a number of different sports over decades but of particular note is the work he has done for cricket, soccer, netball and rugby league within the community.

Within the cricket fraternity, Baratto is regarded as one of the best batsmen in Cowra's cricket history.

He scored multiple centuries for his local club, district team and higher representative teams.

A premiership winning A grade captain for Bowling Club, he has coached Valleys Cricket Club, along with assisting with many junior and senior representative teams.

Baratto has also had a long history with the Cowra Magpies, as a player, coach and trainer.

After playing many games in senior grades, he returned to be the pre-season trainer for senior grades.

He later became a coach of the girl's league tag side in 2018, helping the development and basic skills of local women and also coached the Under 18s squad in the early 1980s.

In the soccer realm, Chris had been the captain/coach of Cowra's open soccer side in 1994 and coached the Cowra Raiders U16s soccer team in 1999.

He's been involved in junior soccer coaching from 2004 - 2011 and was president of Cowra Junior Soccer Club in 2012.

He's also been involved with the Cowra Netball Association as a fitness trainer for representative netball with his daughter's side and has recently returned as the Cowra Eagles Soccer men's coach.

Baratto said he was humbled to have received the award.

"I'm very grateful, it's very nice, the only disappointing part is that now I think I feel old," he said.

"I'm honored that people have appreciated what I've done over the years. But you don't do it for this reason, it wouldn't bother me if I didn't get the award.

"You're really not thinking about those things (awards) when you are doing it, you're just thinking about keeping things going."

Having given his time to help mentor senior and junior players across multiple sports, Baratto said it was something he was pleased to do.

"Having played all those sports, you just go on after you've played to be involved with a bit of coaching or administration," he said.

"It's never bothered me at any stage to put in that little bit extra, because you knew if somebody does it the sport would carry on.

"I've always been happy to help a kid who want's to be helped, I've never asked a kid if they want to be coached, but kids have always come up and asked me and I've never said no.

"And they are the ones you want, the ones that come up and ask, because they are the ones that really want to be taught."

He said one of his best examples of players taking opportunities given to them was Ellie Carpenter.

"She is a good one, because years ago in junior soccer I used to run an extra training session for anyone who wanted to turn up," he said.

"It wasn't a team session, just an individual skills session, and I tell everybody that Ellie Carpenter never missed a session.

"She just did more than everybody else, she would be travelling down to Canberra for training sessions and she'd do everything she could here, because of that she made it all the way.

"That's the sort of thing that highlights why you do it, you look back and say 'that happened and that was part of the processes of people improving'."

Chris said it was important that volunteers were involved in sport so the players could take every opportunity given to them.

"Sports don't run by themselves you need people to help out in anyway possible," he said.

"Either it being coaches or administrators, without them you're not going to have sport. It's just about if you don't do it who does.

"If you haven't got the people, sports die, they'll struggle for a few years and then all of a sudden they'll be gone.

"And it's pretty hard to get it back when you lose something.

"For the kids, if you're are willing to learn, you'll improve and get better."

The Sportsperson of the Year Awards will be held at 6pm on Friday, June 18, at the Cowra Services Club.

Tickets are $40 and are on sale now at the club during business hours.