Eighty-eight game Reserves veteran Christopher Peters will make his long-awaited League debut when he officiates the Round 14 North Adelaide and Adelaide clash at Prospect Oval.
Peters first picked up the whistle at age twelve and credits his father for getting him involved at an early age after an arm injury ruled him out of playing football for an entire season.
“I couldn’t play footy for a whole season so (my) dad said why don’t you just run along the boundary line? I found out I could get paid and that I really loved umpiring…it all started from there.”
Peters soon turned to field umpiring, officiating his first game as a field umpire at Kenilworth in 2005 in an Under 10s match. After umpiring in the Independent Schools competition, Peters arrived at the SANFL in 2008 where he umpired a handful of Under 18s (previously Under 17s) matches. In 2009 he continued, umpiring half a season of Under 18s, which was backed up by a full season in 2010.
Peters made his Reserves debut in 2011 and sat as the emergency field umpire in the Under 18s Grand Final the same year. In 2012, he took up an Umpiring Recruitment position within the SANFL Umpiring Department and was promoted to the High Performance Academy which saw him enjoy a full season of umpiring at Reserves level. From 2012 to 2015, Peters umpired up to 88 Reserves games.
A teacher by occupation, Peters reaction to hearing about his debut was one of excitement.
“I’m obviously very excited and ecstatic about getting there (to League). It’s a good feeling to have been out at the SANFL since 2008 and finally get a League spot.”
Leading up to the match he has gone about his normal routine.
“To be honest I haven’t really changed too much of my routine. I’ve gone out for a couple of dinners with friends and family (but) nothing has really changed. I’m slightly nervous for the first bounce but I’m sure given how well it has been going this entire season I should be okay.”
Peters elevation to League is a result of his dedication, persistence and perseverance. After a disappointing season last year, Peters sat down with a few fellow umpires and coaches to have a chat about what needed to change in order to take the next step and to help point him in the right direction.
“This year I went back to the basics and came out (for the enjoyment) of umpiring. I found that my umpiring was better because I started to enjoy it more and worry less about what level I was doing.”
For the season ahead, Peters looks forward to umpiring as much League football as he can.
“I really want to have a good couple of League games and to do well in the (upcoming) finals series…I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it – what I’ve been doing all year.”
Congratulations Chris on your appointment. Enjoy the moment. Let’s hope it’s the first of many more to come.
Author: James Merrett