Hamilton humbled by honour
During many hours working away at the old Invercargill Rowing Club boat shed Ian Hamilton would take the odd glance at the pictures hanging on the walls, particularly those of the life members.
Hamilton, in fact, marvelled at them.
"In our old shed we use to have all the old life members up on the wall looking at us when we were doing our ergs. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘holy smoke, these people must have put a lot of time and effort in to go up on that wall'. It made you honest when you were sitting on the machine and having the life members looking down on you."
Now Hamilton is one of those life members looking down on the rowers because he was recently honoured as the club's 12th life member in its 138-year history.
Hamilton said it was humbling just to be nominated, let alone be awarded the honour.
"I had a phone call from one of the club members and he said if the club survives the next 100-200 years your name is always going to be up on the wall. I had never thought of it like that so it is quite special to be acknowledged in that way."
Hamilton's introduction to rowing come as a 15-year-old in Riverton where his parents were publicans at the Railway Hotel.
After a short stint as a novice rower he stepped away from the sport only to return later in life when his kids, Richard, Jeremy and Kelly, wanted to join the Invercargill Rowing Club.
Over the next 20 years Hamilton has become a key component to the Invercargill Rowing Club as a coach, an administrator and, like many in amateur sporting organisations, as a hard-working fundraiser.
To highlight just how involved Hamilton has been in the club during his 20 years, he has spent 10 of them as the club's president.
Hamilton over the years has helped plenty of athletes achieve numerous South Island, national and international titles by nurturing and developing their sometimes hidden potential.
The success of the young athletes is what makes it all worth while for Hamilton.
"Just seeing kids achieving is great, it doesn't matter if they win or lose but achieving to their best of their ability."
Hamilton picks out his son Richard's progression to national honours as one of his highlights during his time in the sport.
But he admits it is hard to go past watching Nathan Cohen's progression to Olympic champion as another standout moment for him.
Hamilton played a major hand in get the likes of Cohen and fellow Olympian Storm Uru involved in the sport at a young age as they started out on the journey to the big time.
Off the water, one of the Invercargill Rowing Club's better achievements in recent years is the major renovations and extensions of its clubrooms.
Hamilton was part of the committed group who made it happen by raising the required funds.
To highlight just how committed Hamilton was to ensuring it happened, he, Alister Murray, Eion Harding and Geoff Gorton crossed Foveaux Straight in a quadruple scull racing skiff which was modified to handle sea conditions.
The crew raised $15,000 from the venture.
Juggling work commitments and his love of rowing can be difficult at times for Hamilton but there doesn't look to be much let up as far as continuing to help the progression of the Invercargill Rowing Club and rowing in Southland in general.
- © Fairfax NZ News