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Pigskin goal ump

Should you Umpire with Gusto (UWG)? Hell yes!

The role of a footy parent is unforgiving at best and soul destroying at worst. Okay slight exaggeration there but at 7am, pissing rain with a hangover to boot it can sometimes feel like that!

The only thing that can ice that little morning sweet cake of joy, is knowing that you are rostered on as goal umpire.

As the kids take to the field, many have already turned blue in the face, many are simply trying to stand up as the prevailing winds turn almost cyclonic.

Meanwhile you’re standing like a bleached white phallic symbol erected between the leaning goal posts. As the rain turns to hail its hard to see any of the other fathers standing out on the boundary at all. In fact there are none except the coaches. The smart ones had to wait for the mulching truck at home and those that had no excuses are sitting behind the wheel of their 4WDs watching you freeze your tits off.

Needless to say the kids footy is numbing on all levels. In fact judging by the two kids frozen at the top of the square, you can see this game is going downhill fast..

As goal umpy you could go all limp-wristed and say it’s too hard, I’m gonna blow chunks any minute, I need a double mocha latte with soy and some thermal underwear OR you can Umpire with Gusto…

UWG has many benefits:

  1. You keep your core temperature above freezing
  2. People think you actually know what you are doing
  3. Even when all the kids are screaming that your decision was wrong – if you Umpire with Gusto you eliminate all doubt from both kids and super irate angry psycho parents alike!

The main trick when UWG is the determined, purposeful snap action of the flags.

If you have never watched a game of AFL and you are unsure of the goal umpires precise arm actions, you better hope like hell the umpy at the other end does…Just hesitate long enough for the goal umpire at the other end to start the sequence and then mirror his/her moves. Regardless of how precise your arms actions are, it is CRITICAL that every down stroke of the flag/s is accompanied by an extremely loud ‘snap’. That is the sound of the flag fabric smacking itself on the butt…

You’ll know you’ve got the right measure when kids look to the sky thinking they’ve heard a lightning crack.

You also know you’ve snapped appropriately when the kid kicking the ball out waits anxiously at the side of the goals for you to finish because he is petrified he might lose an eye or cop a flag to the skull..

A rookie error is to think that UWG is just about the flags..hell no..

The Umpire with Gusto is like a drunk interpretative dancer trying to crump while moving to the sounds of AC/DC, stretching & writhing like he is playing an insane game of twister —solo…

Don’t be afraid to straddle the goal line as the ball crosses it. To do this convincingly, lower your centre of gravity and your eyes, now laser beams, with the ball as your target. Yes, get into the best possible position even after the ball slowly goes through, or hits the post — pause — yes, definitely pause——-hold—–hold it——–hold your posture and you intense laser gaze just a little longer…….. then like Clint, twirl those guns if its a goal or sling just the one if its a point.

There are finer points we don’t have time to delve into but I’m happy to elaborate further once my torn hammy heals..

So next time its your turn to be goal umpy, take those flags with a feistiness in your gut and UWG…

Off the fence…





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