This week, local netball Umpire Carmel Weatherburn will represent netball in the ACT when she stands as a finalist in the 2017 CBR Sport Awards. Carmel has been nominated in the Outstanding Service to Sport category, which is an amazing achievement!
In its second year, the CBR Sport Awards are a celebration of our city’s proud sporting culture, its champions and quiet achievers, and the passion Canberra’s bring to their favourite sports as players and supporters.
Carmel is a National AA Badged Netball Umpire – the highest badge awarded in Australia. Carmel has dedicated over 40 years to the netball umpiring community, giving up her time to volunteer, allocate, coach and assess umpires across the city.
Ahead of the big awards, we chat to Carmel about how she got involved in the sport, and what the awards mean to her.
Tell us how you first got involved in netball? I started playing netball for Rosary Primary school when I was 10 years old as a GA/GS and my mum was one of the schools coaches.
What attracted you to become an umpire of the game? My mum used to coach and needed someone to umpire training games so I gave it a go.
I commenced umpiring when I was 11 – umpiring games for my primary school, and found I enjoyed it and was good at umpiring and so I started to umpire Saturday netball games. My mum became heavily involved in Saturday netball so I basically lived at the netball courts playing, umpiring and eventually, when I was in high school, coaching my own primary school team.
What has been your biggest highlight while umpiring? Obtaining my AA badge at the age of 21, at my first Australian Open/U21s Championships held in Canberra in 1981. At the time I was the youngest umpire to achieve this badge.
Also another highlight was umpiring the many Australian teams that have trained at the AIS from 1981 till now 2017, this has given me a great insight into the game of netball. But I also have to mention how exciting it was to umpire my daughters first game of netball!
What advice would you give to someone keen to get involved in umpiring? Get the right help from the beginning. Speak to your District Umpires Convenor and get an umpire coach who you get on with and who teaches you in a way you understand. Having the right support enables a beginner umpire to feel more confident.
You are a finalist in the 2017 CBR Sport Awards for Outstanding Service to Sport. What does this nomination mean to you? I think it’s fantastic that Officials involved in sport get recognition for what they do, and I hope that my being a finalist will encourage more people to take up umpiring/mentoring umpires in the sport they love. Netball has been a big part of my life and being nominated for this award was so unexpected, I hope I win but I’ll still be at Netball Monday morning if I don’t.
Summarise your umpire experience in three words? Fun, fitness and friends!
On behalf of everyone at Netball ACT, and the Canberra Sports Community thank you Carmel for your continued dedication and commitment to our sport. We wish you all the best for the finals this weekend!