Peter Vesperman. Photo: Supplied.

At the age of 62, Cootamundra Squash Association long-serving member Peter Vesperman is still an avid and active participant at the Cootamundra Squash Centre.

For the month of May, Peter was recognised by Squash NSW as the May Volunteer of the Month for his 40 years of involvement with the sport.

Mr Vesperman started playing squash in 1980 when he would travel to many different towns and squash centres along with his travels for work on the railway.

30 years of working away meant he would be out of town for a number of days during the week and only be back in Coota on a weekend.

“Playing squash with my work colleagues to entertain ourselves down at the local courts and having a hit was a great social aspect away from our jobs,” he said.

It was around the 2000s Peter got onboard as a Committee Member on the Cootamundra Squash Association, and then became President for four years from 2012 to 2016.

During his tenure he played in local competitions as well as the inter-town carnival, coached younger players, advocated for State Government funding, as well as upkeep the centre.

Today as a Committee Member, he still does most of the maintenance work including electrical and mechanical repairs.

He also mows the lawn and does the cleaning including the toilets and vacuuming of the carpets.

“I’ve always said that if you are going to volunteer for a job and be a committee member, you got to act like it’s your own and do things,” Peter said.

“As a member I am representing the people, and I’ve got a job to do and I like to do it to the best I can. “It sounds a bit funny but up to this day I still think I am President. I like to walk through the place and go, ‘this needs fixing, that needs repair, this need changing’, little things like that.”

Cootamundra Squash A Grade Mens 2020 Champion Mitchell Bowden said Peter is a tremendous asset to the Coota club.

“He works tirelessly behind the scenes organising squash comps, restringing rackets, cleaning courts and the general maintenance of the club,” Mr Bowden said.

“He is handy on the tools and can fix anything that needs fixing. He is a great advocate for promoting the game and encourages young kids to have a go.

“The club needs Peter to keep it going. He also has a crafty game of squash which is thoroughly enjoyable to play against.”

Cootamundra Squash Club President Graeme Johnson added that squash in Cootamundra cannot operate today, without such a great club member Peter is.

“He is still a very enthusiastic player who is always trying to improve his game no matter how old he is, and is a great example to all,” Graeme said.

“He’s keen to keep up with all that goes on in squash and is very willing to help around the place.”

With the recent commencement of the Inter-town competition and the upgrades soon to commence, things are shaping up well at the Cootamundra Squash Centre.

“Many people are very jealous of Cootamundra as we have four courts for such a small town and the amount of members we’ve got. They use us as a location which is great,” Peter said.

At the moment it is hoped the project to upgrade the courts will commence in a couple of months time.

Upgrades include new roof and acoustic ceiling for better insulation, new carpets, a disability ramp for better access to the front door with signages, upgraded air-conditioning and better lighting.

Having coached many kids in his heyday including one-on-ones, Mr Vesperman is calling out for more numbers to get involved at the Cootamundra Squash Centre, especially the younger generation.

“We have people that are willing to do it [coaching] but unfortunately we got to get the younger people down there to play,” he said.

“Anyone can come down on a Monday or Thursday night and have a little hit. It won’t cost them anything, it’s about coming down and seeing if they like it.”

Peter recognised on Squash NSW’s website. Photo: Squash NSW.

Peter added that squash over the years for him has been about friendships and keeping healthy.

“I find it fantastic meeting new people and having talks with them. Thats why I am still playing as I am today,” he said.

“I am not the smallest person, but I just love the game. I can just sit for hours on YouTube and watch a game and go ‘geez that’s a good shot, why don’t I try that’.

“Squash keeps the heart ticking, it’s a great workout and good cardio and the best thing of all is that you can play squash at anytime of the year and it’s cheap as chips.”

Christopher Tan