BECKENHAM’S Dickson Wamukoya-Garbutt can thank Uber drivers for helping him enjoy his passion for umpiring Australian Rules games.
The 17-year-old did not have his driver’s licence last season and had to catch a Uber to games, meaning all his pocket money earned had been funding his Uber trips.
But that did not bother the John Curtin College of the Arts student.
“It wasn’t about the money, it was about getting there and living it in the moment, so it was definitely worth it,” he said.
“Footy is really big and the fact you come on weekends and you interact, it’s a great social place.”
Dickson moved to Australia from Kenya at the start of high school and became involved with umpiring.
He received the Encouragement Award last year as part of the Perth football district and he was selected to umpire at the Girls National Diversity Championships.
Canning Vale’s Basil Thomas says he takes any abuse he cops as an umpire as motivation to continue improving his game.
“I actually find that if someone comes out and abuses me, I take that personally and use that energy to lift my game,” he said.
The Melville Senior High School student has already shown he can cope with the challenges of umpiring.
He has received multiple accolades during four years of umpiring, including being named the Umpire of the Year last year as part of the Perth district football and selection to umpire at the Boys National Diversity Championships and AFL National U16s Championships last year.
Basil said the best part about being an umpire was bouncing the ball at the start of the game.
“You get the thrill when you pull it off,” he said.
He said he got into umpiring after his mother mentioned the pocket money he could make.
“First year was a little bit daunting because I wasn’t used to age groups,” he said.
“I can now umpire private school games.”
People interested in umpiring can contact their local league at www.getinthegame.com.au