Umpiring Congratulations Suzanne Olsen - 800 Games

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The Tigers Nuts

Premiership Player
Jul 31, 2006
3,236
230
Here, there, everywhere.
AFL Club
Richmond
sooz800.jpg


Ballarat Courier:

A PROMISE made to her year 11 English teacher will see Suzanne Olsen bring up 800 games of umpiring football. Olsen will officiate her 800th and 801st game this weekend in a journey where she has seen some of Ballarat's, and in fact some of Victoria's, greatest ever footballers grace the field in front of her.
But it was a comment made from her teacher Graeme Young at Mount Clear Secondary College that she will always remember.
"I was quite close to my year 11 English teacher and he was dying of a brain tumour and I asked him 'what would you like me to do?' and he said 'to keep on umpiring'," she said.
And that's exactly what Olsen, now 43, has done. Starting her career as mostly a boundary umpire, and occasionally in the field, where she umpired 75 games, she has moved to the goals and has now officiated more than 700 in the middle of the big sticks, come sun, rain or the occasional hail.
"People think there are two teams out there, but there are really three," she said. "Our umpiring panel all works together as a team and you've got to fit together as a team."
Olsen was one of the very few female umpires when she started and she admits since the COVID outbreak, it has been difficult to maintain numbers, but not just because of the pandemic but also because of the words you hear over the boundary.
"You don't want to see a girl getting abused by someone on the sidelines who thinks it's all right to give you grief," she said. "I remember one game where the girl was umpiring with her dad and sister, after that both she and her sister gave it away."
Olsen said despite the occasional issue, she had loved her years as an umpire around Ballarat and the region. Seeing a 14-year-old Joel Selwood dominating an interleague match was a highlight, she recalls seeing Jordan Roughead kicking goals, twins Mitch and Nathan Brown and even recalls a match where Bachar Houli played in Ararat, saying he was the "nicest bloke ever".
"It's been great, I've had a lot of fun," she said. "I've seen so many spectacular marks, seen today's AFL players kick lots of goals when they were playing in Ballarat. I've seen people go through the ranks, get recruited. "Callum Leonard (who goal umpired his first ever AFL game this season), his first game was alongside me, he was so nervous and to see him and others go through the ranks gives me so much joy." Olsen said there might be another 200 games in her as she chases 1000 games.
 

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The Tigers Nuts

Premiership Player
Jul 31, 2006
3,236
230
Here, there, everywhere.
AFL Club
Richmond
Steady on, champ. You can't hold Sooz responsible for the snap lockdown. There's no need to be harsh, judgemental and unfair.

She'll get a final (if the season isn't totally shitcanned) or she'll do it in Round 1 next year.

Either way, it'll be a grand occasion and I fully expect the teams to line up and applaud her off the field as befits such a milestone.

And I reckon if you were there, you'd be up in the stands looking down with a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye. Just like Graeme Young.
 

Old Mildura Boy

Senior List
Feb 12, 2015
185
525
AFL Club
North Melbourne
You look the type who would flout the lockdown restrictions chief. You're probably getting your kids to come over and do your washing aren't you. "Compassionate reasons" my arse.
Hip is a bit dicky mate. The girl pops over to help walk the dog every now and again and I send her home with a plate of food for her trouble. Bit of respect there.
 

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