In his 38th year of service for the Bendigo Umpires Association, Craig Findlay still recalls the pleasure of being involved in so many exciting football matches throughout our region and the enjoyment from the friendships he has made throughout his journey.
Craig currently holds position as Chairman of the Bendigo Umpires Association Board, Chairman of Selectors and is an umpire for the association. He has also been honoured with a life membership award for dedication and time served in the association.
Craig recalled the sensation of the 1992 Bendigo Football and Netball League grand final between Castlemaine and Golden Square. Castlemaine took the victory by five points. It was the first Bendigo senior grand final he had umpired.
Craig has been involved in football his entire life. After graduating from junior football, Craig continued to play throughout high school until he eventually began working at the age of 17. Due to shift work he could not commit the time of continuing to play. However, after a few years, with the passion of football still very much in his heart, and the urge to get fit, 1983 marked the beginning of Craig’s umpiring adventures.
From 1983, Craig has umpired over 600 games of football, being majority senior matches. He has also umpired 13 senior grand finals, 5 at the Bendigo Queen Elizabeth Oval.
“Football is very important”, Craig shared. “It’s what makes the whole community tick in the country regions. It’s certainly a big part of Bendigo. Everyone is involved or has a family member or friend involved, it’s a core part of our community”.
At the 1999 Annual Umpires’ Dinner, Craig was presented with a life membership award for his length and dedication of service within the association.
Although the 2020 season was unfortunate, Craig remains hopeful the world, and more importantly football will be back to normal as we knew it by 2021.
Whilst Craig hopes Football clubs survive financially, and players eagerly return, he also hopes the umpires will return keen as ever.
“Hopefully all the umpires come back next year too, we are trying to keep them all engaged through the internet in activities and zoom meetings”, he shared.
Craig also spoke about those with a love of football similar to himself who can’t necessarily commit to being a player. “Umpiring certainly provides a different aspect of the game. You can still be involved if you can’t or don’t want to be a player. Like they say; umpires have the best seat in the house”.
Craig truly is a fantastic member of the Bendigo football community, and the Bendigo Umpires Association. It is evident from his dedication of service and willingness to step up to leadership positions he is a deserving life member of the umpires association.
Whilst modest about his own role in the association, Craig could not recommend becoming an umpire enough. “Anyone interested in umpires and football and wants to be involved should give it a go, it’s not as hard as it seems. It’s a great environment to be involved with, and there’s a great social scene”. Maybe this is the reason Craig has been so passionately involved for such a significant amount of time.
Eliza McKinstry:- Internship