Legendary field umpire Barry Lewis will create a significant milestone this Saturday, becoming the first umpire to be appointed to 1000 Adelaide Footy games when he officiates the Division 6 A grade men’s game at Eric Sutton Reserve. The 72 year old retired Police Superintendent, who now considers himself “a professional umpire”, will take to the field with great friend and regular umpiring partner Terry Crispin for the top of the table clash between Rosewater and Trinity.
It all started way back in 1972 when Barry filled in as an umpire at a social game he was involved in. “The umpire didn’t turn up so I grabbed a whistle and helped out. A few of the players said I was ok, so the next week I went out with SANFL to train and the rest is history.” And that history not only includes 1000 Adelaide Footy games but over 1000 games in other Leagues along the way. “The current total is 2229 but who’s counting?” Barry remarks.
Throughout the years, he has also taken on the role as Umpires Coach of various Leagues, including the Port Adelaide Junior League, Glenelg South Football Association, Metro West Junior League and Adelaide Footy League. There is a combination of factors which have contributed to his passion for umpiring – “It’s the mixing with people, keeping in shape, decision making and staying involved with the greatest game in the world.”
On Saturday, Barry’s proudest supporters will be his family members, including his wife of over 50 years (Merry) as well as 2 adult children and 5 grandchildren. But don’t expect that reaching the milestone will mean his umpiring career is coming to an end – “I’ve said to people that the club I’m umpiring when I pass away is to organise where I’ll be buried on their oval. I have no intention of retiring as I am enjoying each and every game. The opportunities continue to be great with the Adelaide Footy League.”
For more information about umpiring, visit www.adelaidefooty.com.au/umpiring