The Sporting Referee/Umpire is an underrated figure in world sport. It’s a hard job, that takes a very special person to do. You’re on a hiding to nothing. If you have an exceptional game, no one will talk about you, but one mistake could have you in the media all around the world.
Sometimes that mistake can be big, and deserve a little scrutiny, like allowing someone to stay on the field who smashed someone late and in the head with a swinging arm. Or not being able to work out that a pass thrown two metres forward is actually a forward pass. Or perhaps in the EPL where a referee sends the wrong player off, or when a penalty is given for a performance in the penalty box that is only slightly worse acting than Nicole Kidman.
But we shouldn’t always cane them for their one off mistakes, or a career full of mediocrity, in the end they are just dedicated sports fans or slightly frustrated sports people themselves. Or in the case of Shane Watson, a frustrated umpire.
In a week where the referees have taken the limelight away from who NSW can blame for the 2017 Origin series loss, we have decided maybe once a year, for a week they should get a little love from the public.
With the finals just around the corner, they’ll need your love more than ever.
Hot on the heels of last week’s first theme week introduced by The Gurgler – National Do Something Creative with Shopping Bags Week – we introduce the International Love a Great Sporting Referee/Umpire Week.
So we at The Gurgler encourage everyone to Love a Referee or Umpire, by sending them a message on social media, writing them a letter, sending them a fax, taking out a personal ad with a haiku poem dedicated to them in the local paper, or create your favourite scene of them in a cardbox box and Instagram it to your followers. Use the hashtag #LoveARef2017.
To get in the mood we have our favourite Sporting Referees / Umpires of all time for your serving suggestion of one to love.
Typical of your referee – understated and now completely forgotten when they leave the game. Except in if you are Tim Mander who is making the most out of a career that is hated more than a sporting referee / umpire – State Politician.
Mogsheen Jadwat was a competent referee, with possibly the greatest name of any official of any sport ever. And one we will remember and pay tribute in the International Love A Great Sporting Referee/Umpire Week.
Loved in Queensland, much less loved in NSW, but what an era when the man known as The Grasshopper was in charge of rugby league’s night of nights.
Slightly biased for Queensland, he was part of a golden period for the interstate clashes in the late 80’s. For the sunshine State anyway.
Great name, great umpire.
All of you expect of an English cricket umpire.
The zany, eccentric New Zealander umpire tried his hardest to make cricket slightly more interesting.
His overly enthusiastic signal of six and four thrilled cricket fans worldwide, and were much copied in Warehouse cricket umpiring for a decade.
Unfortunately people soon realised he was actually mad, and his antics were no longer fun. Perhaps he could be brought to Australia to umpire the Ashes series…..oh, forget about that.
JOHN WILLIAMS (Snooker)
Is there a better job in sport than a Snooker referee? Na, and John Williams is the one that we sort of recognised after a bit of internet searching.
LESLIE NIELSEN IN NAKED GUN
Leslie Nielsen did a lot of good things in the first Naked Gun movie, and his work as an Umpire at the Baseball was some of his best. If real umpires took a little out of his playbook it may become watchable.
PIERLUIGI COLLINA (aka that psycho looking bald Italian soccer referee)
What better way to keep a game of football under control than to look like you will kill anyone if they commit a foul.
Considered the greatest referee of all time, he was a good mixture of notoriety and competence.
Participate in International Love A Great Sporting Referee/Umpire Week this week July 24 to July 30.
Send an email.
Create a piece of art.
Use Hashtag #LoveARef2017
Join the discussion on our Gurgler Facebook Page