Softball ACT hosted its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 28 June at Woden Tradies in Phillip, ACT, with one of the items on the agenda being the nomination of Joanne Lesiputty for life membership of Softball ACT.
Jo’s dedication to Softball and the Indigenous community is extremely inspiring, and Softball ACT is pleased to report that the decision was unanimous.
Today, Softball ACT would like to officially congratulate and confirm Joanne Lesiputty as the newest Life Member of the ACT Softball Association (Softball ACT)!
Placed below is the nomination presented to Softball ACT.
Jo Lesiputty Life Membership Nomination
whISPers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Softball Corporation members, directors, players and families, in conjunction with individuals from the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community would like to proudly nominate Joanne Lesiputty for Life Membership to Softball ACT.
Jo is widely known in Softball circles for her compassion, dedication and nurturing ways supporting all players, coach and officials, families, friends and an influence others to be understanding of the game of softball at all levels – newcomers, established, development, community and elite.
Jo’s journey within the softball world has been full of fantastic achievements that has many stories to accompany her outstanding records. Some of these include:
- Inductee into the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame (1986)
- Recognition as an international softball player
- An international softball official
- Ambassador and mentor to Softball Australia
- Founder of whISPers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Softball Corporation
- At a local level over the years in various capacities of a state and Canberra coach, a board member, club development officer, many volunteer roles including more recently manager of the Saturday Fast Pitch League.
To expand on some of the highlights mentioned already, Jo is the “First” Aboriginal person to represent Softball Australia, and extends that status with her daughter Katina Robson to share the “First mother and daughter team” to represent Australia and this record still stands.
Jo competed in her first World Series in North Dakota USA in 1985, and went on to represent Australia at further Open International tournaments touring various venues throughout Asia, USA, South Pacific, Europe, North America and several international series on home soil throughout Australia.
Her skill as an outstanding outfielder who could read the game better than most, allowed her to anticipate plays resulting in spectacular diving catches robbing players of some fantastic hits. Jo’s speed around the bases gave her many green lights from coaches, and her rocket arm allowed her to contribute to many outs on the diamond. Her versatility as a switch hitter in the box was also confusing many pitchers, not knowing what to throw to her!
Jo started her softball career with former Queanbeyan Softball Club (under Eileen Daniels another Life Member to SACT), and progressed to the former Tuggeranong Upstarts where she completed her A grade season competition. Following her retirement playing at the elite level, Jo focused on her family and community, but was always involved with the development of softball at a state and national level. This included participating and promoting both Fast and Slow Pitch in Canada whilst on a 4 year Diplomatic Mission.
Jo has contributed to softball and other sports in Australia through a range of roles, most particularly as the founder and Director of whISPers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Softball Corporation. Some of you may know that Jo is a quiet achiever and an instrumental icon to have not only represented her country at softball, but 2 other sports – Indoor Cricket and Rugby League, where she has was instrumental in her respective teams at International competitions. If that wasn’t enough she was also named in the All Australian Aboriginal Netball team to tour the Cook Islands, with the honour to be names Captain of the Australian Indigenous Rugby League Team in a Test Series against the NZ Maoris.
Jo’s commitment to the sport of softball is first-class on many levels, not to mention her exceptional talent as a sports person, a special friend to many and an admirable ambassador and mentor to the softball world and her community she lives in. The accounts you have heard tonight provides an opportunity for Joanne (Jo) Lesiputty to be acknowledged for her past, present and ongoing involvement with softball at different levels and I am sure that members here tonight, along with friends, community and other softball players, clubs and officials will agree that Jo Lesiputty be honoured with Life Membership of Softball ACT 2016.
Chief Executive Ben Kirk had this to say:
“I’ve only known Jo a very short time, but her passion, drive and love of our game is easy to see. After reading her story, and noting her achievements both personally and for the ACT, it’s very clear that this wasn’t really a decision to be made; merely a formality.
Congratulations Jo; I’m very much looking forward to having you involved and shaping our sport far into the future.”
Jo Lesiputty currently manages the Saturday Fast Pitch League, and is involved with the WhISPers softball club.
Sophie Moore | Softball ACT