My career has had a lot of moments some good some bad. I remember on my first year I was doing a finals game in Lara. My mentor and who still is my mentor Mark Osborne, took me to the game and as featured in an earlier whistle blower article, said that I got a packet of gum that looked like condoms and I still laugh about it today. The match itself was very good, however at the end I couldn’t help but grin as a Newtown player kicked the ball for behind from directly in front of goal. Another great moment was at the Presentation awards ceremony where I was awarded most promising first year umpire award. That showed me I have a lot of potential to be an umpire and that I will continue to the last step. That was also the year I did my first junior grand final.
In 2012 I came back for more, continuing to do colts games and still in my green shirt. I still mocked Mark Osborne from time to time for not being at my games. I have to admit my maturity could get out of control from time to time when I was younger. End of that year I did my second junior grand final.
In 2013 I started doing colts and reserves and being told by my coaches that I am close to my orange shirt. It was tough doing two games but i enjoyed the challenge. I was earning a lot more money than what a normal 13 year old would be making and I was proud that I was improving so much that the coaching panel continued to select me for 2 matches every weekend. I again did a junior grand final giving me my 3rd medal.
2014 was the year I started getting into the higher levels of footy. I started doing reserve and senior games a week with a colts match at stages of the year. I was realising it was harder than I really thought. I was working from 12pm to at least 5pm which is the most I ever worked on a weekend. The advantage of having reserve and senior matches was that my senior game was recorded so I could show my family and watch it myself and learn off my mistakes. That was also the year I got my first GFL senior match which proved to be my worst game of the year. It was at North shore and the rain was pouring down. The ball was coming from the left and with the rain covering my eyesight I couldn’t see where the ball went so I called a point but apparently it went in for a goal so I coursed a lot of confusion. Luckily the field umpire came up to me and told me it was a goal. I realised how great teamwork is in being an umpire. We are always there to assist each other at any time. I ended up doing 2 GFL senior games that year and I also achieved 100 games which was a big achievement for me. I also did another junior grand final but I also did a reserves grand final as an emergency. I ended up getting a medal for that and so I now have a GDFL reserves medal to the collection which is a privilege to have.
This year wasn’t the best for me since I was dealing with my mental illness (Anxiety and Stress) and I felt I was in poor form to do both reserves and seniors. The coaches were happy enough for me to get back into it slowly so they gave me just colts games for the next few months until I decided to do a reserve and senior game with Mark Osborne. However that didn’t turn out to be my best thought decision as I was still recovering at the time from a fever and during the reserves game I was feeling weak and didn’t think I was going to be able to get through the seniors. So the kindness of Ozzie showed and he called up one of the coaches and got them to send a replacement in which was rob steel. I was happy when both Rob and Mark were making sure I was ok and I rested for the rest of the week. Now I am here with 148 games up my sleeve and still waiting to see if I am going to get 150 games before my season ends. Who knows I might end up with 149 by end of season and have to wait till next year for 150 games.
In my 5th year I have really learnt a lot about umpiring. I have learnt that umpires in the AFL can have it rough at times and that the crowd think they’re stuffing up or being biased which is not true. I know that teamwork is the most important thing in a match amongst the umpires. Everyone at the GFUL has had a part in my short career but I won’t be giving up umpiring anytime soon as I still have a goal to become an AFL umpire one day. But for now I want to spend my career with all the great people at the GFUL.
Cohen is one of our young umpires who have grown not only in size but in maturity and confidence since taking up umpiring. Even though he has only been with us for a short period of time this young man will achieve great things on and off the football field and will be an umpire for the future for the GFUL. I look forward to seeing where his career takes him in the years to come.
Dave Harris - Geelong Umpires General Manager