Men in White
Men in White
A film by Malcolm McKinnon
Football Stories from Country Victoria, An initiative of the Victorian Country Football League and the State Library of Victoria, 2007
Contact the copyright holder or content contributor(s) listed at the bottom of the story home page.Copyright
Malcolm McKinnon, 2006.
What motivates someone to become an umpire? Clinton Markwell and Lockie Eccles at Warrnambool provide some answers.
Thank you to Clinton Markwell, Robert Eccles, Tom Greenaway, and the Warrnambool and District Football Umpires Association. Archival film reproduced courtesy of Hampden FNL.
-The idea of having a green shirt is to signify that we're a learner umpire and just to give us a fair go, I guess. And just like if you're in a car, you see a learner driver, you know to just be patient with them. And just to understand that they are still learning and that it's an important part of their career.
I played one season of, like, under-twelves football. And I'm a bit of a wimp, so I don't, just not cut out for football, so I've decided to come up and umpire. Over four years that I've been here, I've just decided that I love it, and I love football, and that's why I stayed.
-When I first walked into the umpire fraternity, the track supervisor at the stage, he firstly said, come on, young fellow, here's the ball. Took me over to the point pace, and he said, showed me the basics of hanging on and holding the ball. And he said, now, I want you to bounce this ball up and down at this point pace. It's gotta be straight up and down it, and it's also got to reach the top of it.
So for two weeks or so I practiced and I practiced. After a couple of weeks, I, yeah, I mastered it. And so I went over to the track supervisor Roy. And I said, Roy, I've done it, where do I go next?
He says, no son, come here. We've moved to the goal post now. And I said, what? And he said, now I want you to do it up and down the goal post and to the height of the goal post.
It's a skill, and we've lost it in the country because we throw the ball up. But for the young fellas, my mentees, it's a case that will be taught, and I hope to pass that skill onto them.
-Well, I'll have to learn how to bounce it one day for I want to go to the AFL, which I do. It'd be a dream one day walking around the MCG with all the 100,000 people roaring. But yeah, I'll just let it take me and enjoy the ride, I reckon.
-It's put another spring in my step doing this mentoring program, because these young fellas, I can see that possibility that I'd hope one will make it to AFL.
-Basically, he works with me and pass on his knowledge of how to umpire and how to treat players, which is a fundamental aspect of being an umpire. I'm nervous every single game just because the fellas there, they're another foot taller than me and just, I don't know, there's a lot of expectations of me to perform.
I just do it because I love it, and it's a great game.