By Bernie Vaux, SMJFL Umpiring Director
Last Thursday April 11, the SMJFL Umpiring Department had the pleasure of hosting AFL Umpire Chris Donlon at training, who spoke on the topics of ‘Commitment and Communication’.
Chris, who started his umpiring career in the SMJFL in 1990, told the current group of aspiring AFL umpires that when he was young he sat and listened to (then) AFL Umpire Darren Goldspink say there was an AFL Umpire of the future sitting in the room listening to him.
Now, many years later, Chris said the same thing. He is sure there was at least one girl or boy sitting in the club room at Moorleigh Reserve who would one day reach the heights of an AFL Umpire.
“Umpiring makes you a well-rounded and respected human being,” Donlon said, and instils “confidence [which, in a game setting] flows on to players and… supporters”.
He said this is mainly because it teaches umpires to keep a level head and focus on the laws of the game – without becoming emotional.
These were just a few of the special messages Chris shared with the group, while commenting that all umpires are leaders and are developing the skills to overcome obstacles and communicate with a wide variety of people.
Chris now regularly umpires in the AFL, has a current game tally of 160 and, in 2011, earned the privilege of umpiring an AFL Grand Final.
One lucky young umpire was presented with one of Chris’ 2012 umpire shirts – complete with his no.1 on the back. Such a thrill!
We are most grateful to Chris Donlon for taking the time to return to his ‘home ground’ and inspire a terrific group of young people as they commence their own umpiring journeys.