Jerome Raemaki is one of our Dugout team members and over the last 11 months he has been working hard to get back to his physical best after tearing his ACL last year. We got him on the phone to chat about his injury and his recovery.
When did you get your injury and how did it happen?
It was actually last year playing in the labour weekend tournament in Nelson and I did my ACL on the 2nd day (Sunday) of the tourney and then I had to play the Monday because we were short of players. I probably didn’t do so well because I was trying to run around with the bottom of my leg hanging off!
I was basically in the black sox Squad at the time and me being in the team was really dependent on whether my leg was going to get right and then I ended up having surgery in March this year. It was a tough time aye because once I found out I had to go under the knife it meant the world series was pretty much done for me.
What has been the hardest part about the recovery process?
I’ve had a lot of time off sport aye which wasn’t so bad because I filled my time with rehab on my leg but it also gave me heaps of time to work on keeping our Poneke Kilbirnie team together because we struggled to do that this year but we have managed to get a team out there that we think can compete at the best level. I guess positive things have come from the injury in a round a bout kind of way.
How is your recovery looking so far?
I’ve started playing again, started in the end of October which is awesome but i’m still in the tail end of the recovery and i’m still going to be doing my rehab on it until the new year. Im feeling good but there’s still things in place to get back to 100%
Obviously seeing the boys win at the world series was awesome and it brings the drive to get myself selected to play for New Zealand in the Czech Republic in 2019. So its good to look at it like even though I wasn’t there, the guys that got to go away and win the tournament did it for our country and now I know that i have to play that much harder to get my spot back.
How’s your season with PK going so far?
It’s not going too bad, we are definitely in a rebuild stage at the moment and we know that it’s a long-term plan and we aren’t expecting anything to happen overnight. But we have a solid foundation that we are building on in preparation for March. So we have a bunch of small goals all leading up to the big one and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.
“When talent fails to work hard, hard work will always beat talent”
Who’s your favourite person to play with either with PK or The Black Sox?
It’s probably going to be the same answer as a a bunch of people. As a teammate, Wayne Laulu. I know Wayne quite well and he seems to bring a different aspect to teams that is very unique to him. He’s really good with knowing when to have a laugh and break the ice etc. But when things get down to it, the serious side of things, he always seems to deliver when it counts.
Another big one for me would be Thomas Makea. His knowledge of the game and professionalism that he brings into teams is key. Especially with the history of our game and the long list of Black Sox and White Sox, players like Thomas are super important for the younger generation of players to look up to.
Favourite Softball Memory?
Would probably be making the world series team for the first time in 2015. Not just for me but it was a big deal for my family too. My grandparents played for PK and then my parents and now me and my sister so Softball is huge in my family. Aside from that, winning the club nationals with PK in 2010/11 was a huge one that I won’t be forgetting any time soon aye.
What would be your favourite sport aside from Softball?
It’s gotta be rugby, that’s kind of obvious for Kiwi kids but there’s definitely a point where lots of kids including myself have to make a decision on which sport they want to pursue. Softball has worked out pretty well for me so far but sacrifices like that are a part of playing sport at a competitive level.
What would be the best piece of advice you could give to someone trying to get into rep teams?
“When talent fails to work hard, hard work will always beat talent” That’s something I’ve kind of lived by and it’s not even just for softball, its for everything and everyone. Its pretty relevant at the moment in our premier team because we all know that if we don’t work for what we want, it’s definitely not gonna come to us.
Keep an eye on Jerome and his Poneke Kilbirnie team on the clubs Facebook page and hopefully we will see his name with the Black Sox when the Challenge cup rolls around next year!