Enjoyment for umpire Jim

Enjoyment for umpire Jim

Despite never having played a game of football, umpire, Jim Walker, lives and breathes Australia’s most cherished game.

Walker is in his third season as an East Gippsland umpire, which has been filled with many highlights.

Passion for football has become a key part of his life.

“The love of footy got me into umpiring and I’ve watched it ever since I was a kid,” he said.

“One night I decided to go to umpire training and yeah, I went from there.”

In the preliminary final match between Lindenow South and Swifts Creek at Omeo Walker notched up his 100th game as an umpire, something he is extremely proud of.

“It was an awesome feeling and a big achievement for me,” he said.

“When I first started I wanted to be a boundary umpire and I never actually thought of being a field umpire.

“But it is great and I love it.”

Umpiring is more than just a hobby for Walker, it allows him to remain a part of the game he loves and he said he is proud of how much his umpiring has improved during his 100 games.

In terms of highlights, the 2017 Omeo District Football League under 16 grand final remains at the top of his list.

“That game was a big moment for me - it was my first grand final that I have umpired in.

“I felt privileged to be a part of it, it is the biggest game of the year for the whole season for the league.”

To add to Walker’s highlights, he will umpire the senior grand final contest between Bruthen and Swifts Creek tomorrow afternoon at Swan Reach alongside Tracey West and Brad Lancaster.

Even though he hasn’t pulled on the footy boots for a game, Walker is happy pulling on the umpire’s green uniform.

“I’m a tall, lanky and skinny dude and I would probably get smashed if I played but that’s ok because I love running and I certainly get the opportunity to do that umpiring.”

In the future Walker hopes to move up into higher standards of umpiring.

“I would like to get more consistent games in East Gippsland football and see what happens from there.

“Hopefully one day I might get a few games under my belt there and move into Gippsland League, which would be pretty good.”

Walker’s love of football goes past his umpiring. When he was younger his love and passion for the Melbourne Football Club shone through and remains superior to most supporters.

For the Demons to make the finals series for the first time since 2006, Walker is smiling from ear to ear.

“I could not be more proud of them. I’ve seen what they have gone through,” he said.

“They have gone through some tough times over the years but they have come out the other side.

“I am so proud to be a Demons supporter.”

PICTURED: After 100 games as an umpire, Jim Walker will officiate his first Omeo District senior grand final.