Sport

Behind the Scenes: True passion for game

by
April 26, 2017

Ossie, 30, is often seen as an intimidating person because of his tattoos and self-proclaimed "scruffy" appearance.

Ossie, 30, is often seen as an intimidating person because of his tattoos and self-proclaimed "scruffy" appearance.

Name: Cheyne ‘‘Ossie’’ Osborne

Age: 30.

Club: Benalla Bandits baseball team

Position: Pitcher, catcher.

Do you share any characteristics with your rock star namesake?

No not really. We’re quite different I’d say, for example I don’t eat bat heads or anything like him.

I used to be able to play acoustic guitar but not any more really, give me a chainsaw and I’ll play that instead.

How did you get into baseball?

Well years and years ago I had leukaemia meningitis when I was six. The doctors told me that I could play footy until the end of grade six and then had to stop, and they rattled off all these other things I wasn’t allowed to do during my life otherwise it could bring back the leukaemia.

So I ended up going along with my mates to a baseball training with them, and next thing the coach is asking me would I like to play for them.

I went home and talked to my Nan about it, and she said ‘well it’ll be safer than footy, so why not give it a crack?’, so I joined the team at the Mooroopna Monarchs.

And I worked it out recently that I’ve been playing for 18 or 19 years in a row since.

What did the doctors say you couldn’t do?

I wasn’t meant to do any contact sports, get any tattoos, piercings, drink or smoke — any of that jazz.

But on that note, no-one wants to be wrapped up in cotton wool and bubble wrap all their lives.

When did you join the Benalla Bandits?

Just before I met Linda (his partner), so about eight years ago I think.

What’s the best thing about being a Bandit?

Just the enjoyment of it. Not just that, getting the young talent and working with them.

The good thing about baseball is it’s not a sexist sport and it’s good for any kind of person really.

You don’t have to have a perfect arm or a perfect eye to hit the ball. That does help, but you can learn that through playing.

No-one walks in and is instantly a rock star at baseball, which is great.

Is the game growing within Benalla?

Yes it is. There’s a good crowd of people there, and the people of Benalla are starting to accept baseball as a sport in their town.

About five years ago we had a stall out there by the lakeside and we all came in our baseball uniform with bats and hats, mits and the catcher in his gear.

And it was so sad, it broke our hearts, that people came up to us and asked ‘who are you? Gridiron players?’

And others would ask if we were cricket players.

That was a punch in the bum for us because no-one really knew about us. But I reckon you could walk past 10 people in the street now and talk to maybe four or even five out of those 10 about what the Bandits are up to and how they’re playing.

When did you get your first tattoo?

I wanted my first when I was 15, but I waited until I was 17. They’re addictive I reckon.

When you meet people for the first time do they think you are an intimidating person?

I try not to come across as intimidating. Everybody’s different I guess.

When I went for a job recently out here, I walked in with board shorts and a tank top and they thought to themselves ‘look what the cat’s dragged in, some skinny tatted-up bloke with a scruffy appearance’.

They didn’t tell me they thought that until I’d been working my a*** off for them for about six months, when they said it to me.

They said ‘my God you’ve proven yourself’.

Have you ever had anyone say to you after you’ve met them, ‘you’re not as scary as I first thought?’

Plenty of times. Some people have told others ‘oh don’t get on his wrong side, you’ll regret it’.

But after they’ve met me and had a chat, they’ll say ‘why did this bloke say that, you’re harmless’.

I’m pretty easy-going and try not to be intimidating, I just be myself — happy go lucky.

I figure if you try not to upset people’s days, go out to enjoy your day, and if you can make someone else’s day better then that’s what it’s all about.

If someone at the supermarket is having trouble with their shopping I’ll be the first to go over and help out.

And family is very important to you as well — who’s in your immediate family?

My two kids Riley, who’s 1, and Amelia who is 2, and my partner Linda.

Plus those who are important but not immediately around me like my grandfather, my Aunty June in Melbourne, my uncle, my mum of course, plus my sister and my brother. And the in-laws of course! (Laughs).

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kids?

Teaching them to be outside kids, rather than inside kids.

Amelia would rather be outside with Dad than inside, and Riley’s getting the same.

Amelia loves the motorbikes and Dad’s toolbox when he’s working on cars (laughs).

It’s just as well I screw on the wheel nuts tight otherwise there would be a few tires rolling down the driveway.

QUICK-FIRE ROUND

Cats or dogs? Dogs.

What is the number one place in the world you’ve been? Queensland.

If you could travel anywhere where would that be? America.

What superpower would you have? Mind reader.

What was the first car you drove? A Datsun.

Favourite baseball player past or present? Ichiro Suzuki for the Marlins.

Who inspires you? My grandfather Kevin.

If you could trade lives with someone for a day who would it be? Jason Statham.

Skydive or bungy jump? Skydive.

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