Paul Miesen, father, cook, cleaner, chauffeur, coach, umpire, tutor and mate has always put his family first and so it was no surprise that when we caught up with him he was volunteering at his kids school in Bacchus Marsh, as a place judge at their athletics carnival.
Paul, umpired AFL footy as a boundary umpire between 1989 and 1994. He came through the ranks with two other well credentialed and promising boundary umpires, Andrew Wheeler and Peter McDonald. Peter remembers the competition between them as fierce as they jostled for spots on the senior panel. “Paul was a very good umpire and runner. Early days, Paul was clearly the best and that is why he umpired the under 19 grand final with Andrew and I sat as the emergency.”
The competition between them continued for the next few years until Paul called it quits after 30 AFL games because his first child (Annika) was born early 1995. He wanted to be home and an integral part of her life. Paul also umpired, an AFL reserves grand final and the 1993 AFL night grand final, with current AFL boundary umpire John Morris.
Paul smiled and said jokingly, “I left all of the senior grand finals for Macca.” (6 time grand final umpire Peter McDonald). Peter has a slightly different take on it but refused to reveal “the truth.” The bond between the two is as strong as it ever was and so is the competition between them. Peter moved his family to Bacchus Marsh and the pair continue to run together even to this day.
Life took a significant turn and Paul’s personal story was told recently on Melbourne television program Today Tonight. His wife, Marita, died suddenly of heart failure in 2003. Paul was left to raise their five children. Undaunted and focused solely on the future Paul threw himself into his challenge head on supported by family, friends and the local Bacchus Marsh community.
“Paul showed all the resilience of a focused and dedicated athlete, his children never wanted for anything. Paul would not just take the kids to their sporting and cultural pursuits he got onto committees and worked hard for all children in the district as if he needed to repay their support for his family,” reflected Peter. “Paul has a science degree. He puts that to good use tutoring more than a dozen kids in Mathematics every other night.”
Paul hasn’t been completely lost to umpiring either. He volunteers at his son’s footy games to run the boundary or even blow the whistle as a field umpire. His biggest thrill is running the boundary in the local footy with his eldest daughter Annika. When questioned as to her running ability, Paul deferred immediately to Annika as being the better runner. Annika, 18 is developing the passion for umpiring and would like to have a crack at running in the VFL and then even in the AFL. We certainly know she will be following in the footsteps of a great dad. Paul’s children are Anika, Evana, Solomon, Zachary and Dominic.
Please click on the link below to see Paul’s story shown on Channel 7.