The AFL along with the Southern Football League is this weekend acknowledging the umpires in our great game. Our media correspondent Jason Barbin chats to SFL umpire Jason Hamilton about his football journey and transitioning from SFL player to SFL umpire.
Please click on the following link to view the Umpiring Is Everyone’s Business’ campaign vision package: http://vimeo.com/65117913
Please find attached below a SFL news release:
Umpiring is Everyone's Business News Release 30.04.13
FROM HARD NUT TO WHISTLE BLOWER: The Transition from Player to Umpire
By Southern Football League Correspondent Jason Barbin
Round 4 is “Umpiring is everyone’s business” week in the Southern Football League. It is a week where we celebrate the contribution given to the game we all know and love, by the people who give up their time week in and week out to make sure we have a fair game. Jason Hamilton, an ex-player who played mainly at St Kilda City has followed in the footsteps of ex-AFL players Jordan Bannister and Leigh Fisher and has become an umpire.
While attending a Master league game in the back half of 2011, Jason was asked by umpiring great Peter Martin, if he wanted to umpire with him. Jason agreed and there began a new chapter in Hamilton’s football career. After umpiring the last 3 games of the Master league season with Martin, Hamilton received a call asking if he wanted to umpire full time in the SFL in 2012.
“I jumped at the chance, it was something I found myself wanting to do after umpiring with Peter in the Masters league” Hamilton said.
Hamilton impressed right away and was immediately selected to umpire his first senior game in round 1. His first division 1 senior game came mid-way through the year when he was selected to umpire the round 11 matchup between Highett and Chelsea Heights.
Adjusting to umpiring was difficult at first for Hamilton but he quickly caught on, citing that he had a lot of help from a few of the veteran umpires in the SFL.
“I used to chase the ball early on and get close to the contest, thinking that I could see. I learned quickly to stay further from the contest to expand my vision and to communicate with the other umpires. Rod Johnson, Al Manning and Jack Thompson were really helpful early on.”
When asked if he had his own style of umpiring, Hamilton simply said he tried to umpire the way he liked being umpired. When asked about how he handles the inevitable criticism from players, coaches and spectators, Hamilton said he was surprised how well he handled it.
“I try to let the players play as much as possible, the directors and coaches encourage that. I learnt early on that I had to be firm with players and try to answer their question simply and respectfully. The respect had to go both ways.”
Hamilton’s form during the year was good enough for him to land his first finals appearance as an umpire. Hamilton was seen to have umpired so well through the course and the year and during the finals that he was selected to umpire the epic drawn semi-final match between division 3 clubs Sandown and Doveton Eagles and the Grand Final between Moorabbin and Sandown.
“You had to umpire at your best throughout the finals if you were to keep getting selected. One bad your game and you risked a chance to umpire a semi-final or a grand final”
Now into his second season as an umpire, the new found love for umpiring has spread. Wife Olga has joined the ranks of Southern Football League as a goal umpire in 2013.
“I love the game and saw how much fun Jason had so I decided to join him” Olga expressed.
The ever growing presence of female umpires in the umpiring ranks of the SFL is a positive sign for the future and Hamilton says there are a lot of good female field umpires already running around.
“Kelly Williamson and Libby Toovey are the names that come to mind. Annie Mirabile is also one that has shown a lot of promise. She is quite good.” Hamilton explained.
We look forward to seeing the continued development of Jason and Olga Hamilton as umpires and all the other umpires in the SFL. I think we can all agree that they do a great job and are easily the most valuable members of our game.