Winter has arrived. With it comes freezing cold slippery mornings, when it's hard to get out of bed, let alone umpire a footy match at 8.00am.
Particularly at this time of year remember that little hands (and brains) find it harder to function in the cold, so pay those marks a bit quicker, keep the game moving and don't over-officiate!
As highlighted above - modified rules are modified for a reason. It's so that playing footy is FUN - and it becomes less fun if the umpire insists that every single rule has to be adhered to with zero flexibility or consideration of the conditions.
Remember your responsibilities as a parent volunteer umpire. Read your Code of Conduct before each match to remind you of these. Finally, even more importantly than applying the RULES apply the Spirit of the Laws (see below).
Director of Umpiring
0421 170 756
SPIRIT OF THE LAWS
It is the Spirit and the intention of the Laws of Australian Football (L.O.A.F) that a free kick shall be awarded to:
Ensure that a match is played in a fair manner
Provide to a player, who makes obtaining possession of the football his or her sole objective, every opportunity to gain possession;
Protect players from sustaining injury; and
A player who executes a correct (modified) tackle that results in an opponent failing to dispose of the football in accordance with these laws.
I spoke to someone only last night who has umpired senior footy for over 20 years and coaches umpires in another junior league. He declared that he has applied the Spirit of the Laws his whole umpiring life, only pays the frees that are INDISPUTABLE and keeps the game moving. As long as this is done consistently he was of the opinion that whether it's Auskickers, Under 8s or AFL this approach will work for players, spectators and Umpires.
This fits with my theme of not making things Black and White (unless supporting Collingwood in which case that's all you can do!). Allow that footy is predominantly GREY, and as umpires we can live with grey. Someone else who has been involved in junior footy for many years I spoke to last night laughingly suggested that footy should be called "Umpires Interpretation..." rather than Aussie Rules.
Think about this before blowing the whistle on Sunday. Don't sweat the small stuff!
COMPETITION MATCH REPORT
Please ensure you are going to our SMJFL website, then selecting UMPIRES then CLUB VOLUNTEER UMPIRES on the menus. On this page there is a link to the form for submitting the Modified Rules CMRs.
Only the HOME TEAM umpire needs to submit the report via the online form. If the away team umpire feels so strongly about an issue not covered please email me directly. If the HOME umpire is unable to submit the form, they may ask the away team umpire to do so, but the HOME team will be liable to be fined if the form is not submitted on time. Please note there is a $35 per game fine for any team that fails to submit their form on time.
Remeber this form has to be submitted by 9pm Sunday.
FOOTY AND COLD ARMS
Little hands get roughed up easily by those synthetic footys! Also a hit in the head or face with one commonly referred to as a "falcon" hurts twice as much in the cold. If your team (or the opposition) is wearing long sleeves such as a skivvy or undergarment under that short sleeved don't stress about uniform requirements as laid down in the by-laws. As long as long sleeves are the same basic colour as the club jumper it will help little bodies stay warmer in these chilly mornings. They've got enough to worry about with trying to mark the ball!
PLEASE TELL YOUR TEAM MANAGERS THIS!
Approaching Official SMJFL Umpires (that's you!)
Under no circumstances are Team or Match Officials to abuse, threaten or intimidate umpires or opposition players, officials or spectators.
No person other than an Umpire Escort or Team Manager is to approach the Umpires at any time.
Team Managers may only approach the Umpire(s) during a match for matters not relating to the manner in which the game is being officiated.
Match Officials may speak to umpires regarding the operation of the game but must not abuse, threaten or intimidate umpires or opposition players, officials or spectators.
Please note that the above is from SMJFL by-laws. Operation of the game refers to selection of balls, timing, uniform/boot checks etc - it DOES NOT mean anyone including your own TM or coach can question you about the way you umpire a game.
I was at a game on the weekend where a team manager was adamant that he was allowed to quiz the umpires at quarter time. After reading his Team Managers manual and by-laws he realised he was in the wrong, and to his credit apologised for not knowing. Avoid this situation by discussing it with your TM & coach so they know the rules before incidents occur!
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
When should I yellow/red card a Mod Rules player
If - and only if - you believe there is NO alternative.
If you have a 9 year old running riot, disobeying warnings, answering back, giving you attitude, and wacking anyone within range (and it's not just during the car trip to the ground) then it's time to pull those cards.
If on the other hand, someone puts in too rough a tackle, a few words of warning will usually do the trick. DON'T threaten a player in an aggressive tone, simply state in a measured manner that you need them to modify behaviour or you'll have no choice but to card him/her. Try approaching the team manager to tell them you've warned the player at the next break. Yes - YOU can approach the TM for a sensible discussion, but they CANNOT approach you about the way the game is being officiated.
Just remember they are 8-10 not 15 years old...
Let me know if you have any issues you want clarified for next week - the most controversial will probably be the one featured!
Finally, as previously stated uniforms will be supplied BY YOUR CLUB. All you need is the Parent Volunteer Umpire T-Shirt which is bright yellow. Some clubs are still waiting on supplies of these as our supplier has not yet delivered the larger sizes we ordered. If you need to, you can wear anything bright yellow until new shirts arrive.