As someone somewhere once famously penned: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And so it goes with the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year awards.
The venues might have changed, the people might be different and the perpetual trophy temporarily misplaced, but five decades on from the awards inception they continue to recognise the sporting achievements of Maitland athletes from almost every code imaginable.
The efforts of Maitland Pickers greats including Jim Morgan, Terry Pannowitz and Brian Burke stand tall, along with swimmers and athletes such as Margeurite Ruygrok, John Callaghan, Maddi Elliott, Josh Ross, Trisha Greaves and Pirrenee Steinert.
But those in lesser-known pursuits have also been elevated to the city’s highest individual sporting honour.
Water skiing, trial driving, rodeo riding, tenpin bowling and spear fishing have all spent time at the top of the sporting tree in Maitland.
And while the pursuits themselves may differ a common link remains – the endeavour of sporting excellence and a natural ability which belies its regional city status.
But there is more to it than simply glancing down the honour roll and a flicking through 50 years of Maitland sport photographs on the Mercury website shows a willingness to have a go at just about anything and just about anywhere.
This continues throughout the district today and may it long continue, along with the Maitland Sportsperson of the Year awards.
On Friday night the winners of this year’s awards will follow in the footsteps of those first taken in 1963.
May they be the beginning of another half century worth of wonderful sporting stories from Maitland.