Wanderers stalwart hits 400-game milestone

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Lifelong teammates Graeme Buswell and Nathan Smith have formed a special bond throughout their softball careers.
Camera IconLifelong teammates Graeme Buswell and Nathan Smith have formed a special bond throughout their softball careers. Credit: Justin Fris

Wanderers Softball Club faithful rose as one yesterday, as they watched Nathan Smith play his 400th game against Steelers Gold at the Bunbury and Districts Softball Association pavilion in Eaton.

Alongside him was Graeme Buswell – his 404-game teammate of 25 years – who passed the milestone back in December.

“Win, lose or draw you are there to have some fun,” Smith said. “The games just tally up after a while.”

Both men are modest about their career success and quickly point out the social nature of softball – which has ensured their longevity.

“I think that’s the most important thing about it,” Buswell said. “Without it, the sport wouldn’t continue for as long as it has.

“In every club, people like to get together afterwards and have a good time.”

“It’s a magic atmosphere,” Smith added. “Softball is like one big family. On game days there might be a bit of white-line fever, but after the game everyone hangs around to have a beer and a chat.”

Both men are optimistic about the future of softball in Bunbury and are quick to pass on tips to younger teammates.

“We’ve got about four or five young fellas in our squad,” Buswell said. “I’m not sure about specific numbers at other clubs, but I think we have the most juniors in our team and all of them are looking pretty good.”

Ahead of Saturday’s double header against Strikers and Steelers Gold, both men were keen to acknowledge all the volunteers who had provided support not only to themselves, but to the association as a whole.

“From when I started playing softball – right until now – the biggest thing for me has been the commitment from people who have sat on the committee,” Buswell said. “Some people have moved out and others moved in – but each time new people have come along, they have always tried to do the right thing by everyone. I think socially that is one reason softball is such a strong community – because everyone is like minded.”

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