1995 - 2001 ~ Colac District Football Umpiring Association Inc

A adventure through my employment history.
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The Neth
The Neth
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Joined: 9:11 pm - Mon Aug 06, 2018
Location: Melbourne, Australia

1995 - 2001 ~ Colac District Football Umpiring Association Inc

Post by Laneth » 2:56 pm - Wed Aug 08, 2018

When I was barely 12, the decision was made that I needed to get out of my head and start learning not only social skills but to do something that would get/keep me fit and make me some money.

Since playing country footy - indeed, any sport at all at that level - carried fees to pay, not to get paid, the idea of becoming a football umpire was put onto the table. And by put on the table, I mean it wasn't really a discussion, more a thing that I was going to do regardless.

You can probably tell by the tone of my writing that I'm still not entirely impressed with the decision being made for me, and that it was enforced for almost seven years, but all that aside it did actually teach me a lot.

Back to the beginning...

Australian Rules Football is a type of ball game reminiscent of a cross between rugby and soccer (true football), and is played at both the local amateur level right on up to the national professional level - "AFL" = Australian Football League.

Living in country Victoria, there is an umpiring association called "Colac & District Football Umpires Association Incorporated" (CDFUA Inc) and they serviced three tiers of footy leagues in Western Victoria: Hampden Football League, Colac and District Football League, and Heytesbury Football League (no longer active)

I started out as one of the smallest and youngest umpires the association had had in a long time, starting out as a boundary umpire. This involved a LOT of running, and eventually, a distinct need for a high level of stamina in addition to fitness.

I can recall that in one of my very first games, I exited the field with the beginning stages of hypothermia because the weather was so abysmal. Intense cold and heavy, constant rainfall resulted in this tiny skeleton of a child shivering uncontrollably. Donning a tracksuit beneath my sodden uniform did nothing to block the chill that was setting in, so at half time I stayed off the ground and instead had a shower using only cold water that burned like it was nothing but hot water.

All would be well and I would struggle my way through the years as I began to be trained up to become a "central" or field umpire.

Memories remain of nights wherein I would be taken out to a dinner and movie with the club in Geelong, and stay the night in the clubrooms with several other young umpires of similar age to me. I got to eat for cheap because of my stature making me look much younger than I was, and I recall the hole we put in the wall of the rooms with our antics at maybe 4am and the stupidly desperate ideas we were coming up with to fix or excuse the mistake.

Towards the end I think I'd umpired somewhere close to 150 games, which is pretty darn good for someone who hated it for so long.

It's funny. Resigning when I did cost me so much, but it came at a time when I crumbled mentally after being kicked out of home. So much was lost at that time, and life moved steadily on with those chapters closed. Lessons have been learned, and while I don't necessarily miss the sport (I really don't) or the activity of it, I do miss the fitness and health I had while doing it all. An adult regret a child couldn't comprehend.
Laneth Sffarlenn

“As a spirit schooled to power, his perception stems from one absolute. Universal harmony begins with recognition that the life in an ordinary pebble is as sacred as conscious selfhood.” ― Janny Wurts, The Curse of the Mistwraith