Come Round One, there will be three teams taking afield at your local football oval on Saturday afternoon.
The Underdogs, The Heroes, The Good Guys, Your Team, Whatever you want to call yourself.
Taking on ‘The Scum’ (The opposition who probably aren’t that bad a people to have a quiet beer with) and ‘The Other Scum’ (The Umpires who are just out there doing a job the best they can.)
It’s a tough gig being an AFL Umpire, and without them, our game wouldn’t exist, and we respect them for the effort they put in week in week out. But come round one, when they ping you for a free kick you think definitely had nothing it, you’ll be cursing them into the hills.
We’ve compiled a list of five types of umpires you’ll see rock up to your game, do that fancy backwards run warmup, and give you and your team a stern talking to before the match about how they won’t accept any ‘constructive feedback’ on field – or off.
1. The Retiree
Was never any good at golf, so they’ve decided after their playing days were done, and now they’ve finished up with work, They’d give umpiring a crack.
They refuse to accept any changing rules bought in by the league, and will probably be heard saying before the bounce of the ball “What do you mean you don’t have to kick it to yourself when you play on from kicking in? Has the world gone mad?”
Sometimes struggles to get to contests that are too far away, and has been umpiring from the day you started Under 18’s and will be there long after you’re finished.
You’ll see them suck down a dart at half time, and you’ll see them with a tinnie in hand come final siren.
2. The 14-Year-Old Who Is Half Your Size.
Usually paired up with The Retiree, This youngster probably started out as a boundary umpire.
Since the days of struggling to throw the ball into the light breeze, They’ve moved up on up into the role of field umpire. They are pretty good considering their age (But boy they still make some bad blues.) It must be daunting umpiring to people double your age and height.
Umpiring as their first job to fund their trips to the canteen on a Sunday afternoon after his Under 15’s matches. Also does the scoreboard for every other game but his own on a Sunday. Will probably grow up to be a CEO or something. Supports Hawthorn.
3. The Bloke Who Loves To Run
Decked out in full active wear when they arrive at the game 40 minutes before any other player, ready to run some pre warm up run throughs.
They cover more ground than any other player on the field, and are constantly missing calls due to checking their fit-bit to see how many steps they’ve taken, always claiming “Sorry, My vision was obscured”.
They prefer to run the ball to the centre circle after a goal trying to beat the imaginary TV ad break instead of handing it off to the opposition full back to roost it.
After the game, this guy is seen running home just to hit those few extra kilometres. Wants to be a boundary umpire but doesn’t have the upper body strength.
4. The Authority Searching Bloke
This guy loves it when you have a go at one of his dodgy decisions. They’ll argue back and forth with you all match, and will let you know that whatever he says, goes.
They’re always a bit too quick to call a ball up or ping someone for a free kick, they also love to pull the yellow card or red card if someone decides to get a bit mouthy on one of their decisions. Don’t think they won’t call a decision from 70 meters away with another umpire closer than them either, that’s their speciality.
They also love to yell “Who’s nominating?” when there are to clear ruckman ready to tussle.
Outside of football, They are a pretty big pushover, but with whistle in hand, nothing can stop them. Owns a Razor Ray jersey.
5. The One Actually Pretty Decent Umpire
Let’s face it, they’re not all that bad, when this bloke rocks up to the game, a sigh of relief is had by most. Unfortunately he is usually paired up with a bloke who can’t make a call for the life of him.
Usually a little older, and was probably a good player back in his day, He has game knowledge and understands what it’s like to be in the players shoes. This doesn’t stop the boys on the hill, with tinnies in hand letting him know he’s garbage however.
Most of the time, goes unnoticed by players, but if you don’t notice an umpire, isn’t that a good thing?
Three cheers for the Umpires!