Looking for someone to take into battle who has the qualities of resilience, an ability to perform every action under immense scrutiny and pressure but who has the strength of mind to fight to retain his place on the list, then Graham Bergroth is your go to man.
“Fifty games, wow who would’ve thought,” reflected Graham today. Funny it’s exactly what his coach, Simon Leigh said when all the guys got around him on Monday night to congratulate him.
Graham has a few passions in his life. His music is still foremost in his mind. He is also drawn into his work as a disability services co-ordinator working in two part time roles with Maroondah Council and the Belgrave South Community House. “I love it. My managers appreciate my creativeness with the programs I run, but it is hectic working in two different environments at once. At times I forget where I am at with each team. My teams support me unreservedly and keep me focused on the task at hand.”
So it is with his AFL team mates. “There are a dozen guys on the list who have gone out of their way when they found out I was struggling who gave me feedback and support to improve my umpiring.”
As a young and inexperienced umpire, Graham thought he was going ok, not aware of his deficiencies and what he looked like from the outside. “Some tough feedback from his coach, Simon and some strategies from assistant coach Scott Hutton saw Graham take confidence from his ability and started to improve his performances. One of those was around his throw-ins. “Now I have some confidence in them, I am prepared to run hard and throw them in knowing I won’t lose control.”
Graham, loves each and every game he does, he is sometimes known as the “twilight kid” but he doesn’t care, “Any game is a good game and I’ll take it. My focus is to improve every-time I go out to umpire nothing more or less than that. I am not getting any further ahead of myself than that.”
“My first 50 games have been a slog. In most of them I have been under the pump. It is a real sense of relief that I have achieved this tiny milestone. I’d love to simply enjoy my next 50.”
“I need to thank Stefan Grun as my mentor last year, I hope he is enjoying this milestone as well, he is a large part of it.”
Pictured: 50 gamer – AFL Boundary Umpire – Graham Bergroth