She started her sports journey playing in the streets of Claymore and now Melanie Roche has joined the best of the best in the NSW Hall of Champions.
One of Australia’s most celebrated softballers, Roche was inducted into the prestigious hall at the NSW Sports Awards last Tuesday.
The pitcher represented Australia for more than 20 years and is one of only four Australian sportspeople to win a medal at four consecutive summer Olympics (Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing).
But she told the Advertiser representing NSW always brought her a tremendous amount of pride and she couldn’t be happier to join the likes of Dawn Fraser and Don Bradman in the Hall of Champions.
“It’s a really good feeling because I bleed blue and have always loved representing my state,” Roche said.
“I always remember watching the NRL State of Origin games with my family and cheering for NSW.
“It means a lot to me.”
Roche said she had a wonderful night at the induction ceremony held at Quaycentre, Sydney Olympic Park last week and particularly enjoyed getting to know her fellow inductees.
Netballer Catherine Cox, soccer star Julie Dolan, athlete Jana Pittman and car racer Mark Skaife joined her in the Hall of Champions.
Roche said anyone who was dedicated and committed could forge a career in sports.
“So much of society these days is about the quick fix, but sport isn’t like that,” she said.
“You’re in for the long haul and elite sport takes time.”
Though she no longer lives in Macarthur, Roche said Claymore held a very special place in her heart.
“I want to give a massive shout-out to Claymore,” she said.
“I grew up playing sport in the streets – not just softball, but football, whatever was going.
“I had a lot of support and I’m so grateful.”
Roche has had a big 2018.
She was inducted not only in the Hall of Champions, but also the World Baseball Softball Confederation Hall of Fame.
This adds to her inclusion in the Australian Softball Hall of Fame and Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame.