Having a moment to look back on and be proud of is something we all long for. That moment happened over the weekend for Andrew Morris, as he umpired his 300th game of community football.
Morris’s love for football started at the young age of seven at the Yeronga football club, where he played right up until he was 33. After his playing days were over Morris was destined to become an umpire; it was simply in his blood.
“Umpiring was important to me cause of my old man, who is no longer with us. I was always going to become an umpire after playing footy because he was umpire for several years,” Morris explained.
Even though the transition came as a bit of a shock to the system, it was made easier by the coach at the time, Greg Cudmore.
“There’s little nuances such as, not watching the ball as much and standing side on instead of front and centre, that made the transition a little difficult but the coach at the time certainly made it a lot easier,” he said.
Looking back at his career so far, the umpire says it’s the mateship of the umpires that really stood out to him.
“I always say, you know we are really the third club when it comes to football. It’s also good to be able to relax as such and run around and have something that is a bit less serious with your mates,” he said.
Morris also doesn’t mind the occasional prank at community training and having a bit of a laugh with his fellow umpires. One prank that Morris can remember is one the old umpires played on this Dad.
“He was a character amongst the group, a little bit the same as I am. The old boys from the umpires tell a story about how he won a six pack of beer at training one night and they organised with someone working at the brewery at the time, to fill this six up with water. I remember he got home and went off his nut when he found out,” Morris laughed.
During his long career as an umpire and in his personal life, Morris has had to face some significant challenges but remains positive about his situation.
“Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and it came to a head after the 2014 grand final,” he said.
“When I was watching myself on the video, I could see how the tremors from the Parkinson’s disease (were) affecting me.
“It can take its toll because I get excruciating pain in my back from time to time but I just manage it to the best on my ability.”
Morris didn’t even think that he would be a field umpire this year and that he would have move behind the goals, but he’s soldiered on to his 300th game and it couldn’t have been anymore special.
“I ran around with my best mate Jamie Curtis. It was good (to) run around with him,” said Morris.
“I had Fred Cudmore and Greg Cudmore in the goals. It was great to able to share the day with my first ever coach.”
As for now, it’s training as usual for Morris, working hard to get through the next six weeks of the season. Hopefully we see him umpiring many more games, even if it is behind the goals.
By Zoe Nilsen.