If you sit back and review the umpiring career of Chris Kamolins who umpired his 150th AFL game on Friday night between Hawthorn and Collingwood it has worked in the opposite direction to what the current thinking is.
The AFL are moving to bring all field umpires who are contracted to Melbourne to live and to continue their careers. However, Chris’ career never really took off until he moved interstate. Faced with a job promotion and family relocation to Queensland, Chris’ umpiring career was at the crossroads. He was struggling to get continuity of games and his performances were not as consistent as they needed to be. “Some guys get onto the list, get 15 games in their first year and never look back. My introduction was tougher. I was a slow starter,” reflected Chris.
When Kamo took his first step onto the track in Brisbane he assumed a leadership role of significant proportions and with that added responsibility he gained confidence and respect and has never looked back. “In Melbourne you are one of many. All of the guys are natural leaders and the more senior and experienced guys take the lead. As young guys we never had those opportunities. In Queensland my natural instincts came out both on and off the field. I wasn’t concerned about perceptions and outcomes.”
Three years in Brisbane was a long time and the opportunity to get back to Melbourne has seen Kamo continue in his role as a leader to the point where his last three seasons have been his best. “Once you gain that confidence and respect there is no stopping you. You simply know that you can handle anything in any game of AFL footy.”
Kamo has finished in the top 16 field umpires in each of the past three years but just can’t get that break to get a final in his own right. He has learned the lessons of persistence and knows that his hard work in the end will pay off and is already focused on 2015. “Grand finals are but one outcome in footy and I am certainly striving to earn that opportunity. However, in the end I simply want to be respected by my peers and the football fraternity as a very good umpire.”
Chris you are certainly working towards that goal and who knows where your continued hard work can lead you. Congratulations on achieving 150 games.