Chris Stead 200 Senior Games!

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Last month we sat down with Chris Stead, who officiated in his 200th Senior Game. 

When and why did you start umpiring?
I started umpiring in 2004. I was a basketball referee and I had just failed the fitness tests for the State League competitions due to injury and I was looking for a way to increase my fitness for the next year. My brother had umpired for years and I thought I would join him for a season. I was originally only going to do juniors, but was umpiring U/18's by round 4 and seniors by round 10. By the end of the season, I enjoyed umpiring more so I quit basketball refereeing.

What is the best part of being an umpiring?
The best part of umpiring is the friends you make. Getting to select my panel last week with my best mates in the association was great. Getting paid to keep fit and having the best seat in the house to view the game is pretty awesome to.



What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was taking the step from regular senior umpire, to senior grand final umpire the last few years. In my early years, I didn't put the time in to be the best. I would train wednesdays and run saturdays and think it was enough. It was enough to do 4 reserves grand finals. After my overseas holiday in 2012 I decided to put in the extra time. Big preseason, reviewing filmed guys, trying to learn as many players names to aid match management. It helped me take the next step.

What are some of your highlights over your career?
The highlights of my career include receiving the Golden Whistle Award (1st time a 1st year umpire had won the award) and umpiring the drawn U/18 Grand Final in 2004. Coming back the following week was an amazing experience. My major highlight is my 3 senior grand finals. 2013, 2015 and the drawn grand final last year. So glad they changed to overtime this time, not sure my body would have taken another week. Winning umpire of the year in 2013 and 2015 was also pretty special. My most recent highlight was umpiring my 1st senior interleague match where Riddell was victorious over West Gippsland. It was great to see the stars of our league all together.

Why should people take up umpiring?
Not only do you get fit, get paid and make awesome friends, you also develop life skills that will help you in numerous aspects of future life.