400 and counting for BL&G’s ironmen

Brian Koch and Jim Goode brought up BL&G game No.400 with the whistle on Saturday. PHOTO: Supplied

LIAM PHILLIPS
JIM Goode and Brian Koch both umpired
their 400th Barossa, Light &
Gawler Football Association match
on the weekend, and for Goode the
journey started as a 46-year-old in
2002.
It was only by chance that Goode –
who was a soccer man at heart – found
his way to the whistle when his son
picked up boundary umpiring.
“Because one of the parents had to
go to umpiring training to look after the
kids, and eventually I was convinced
to get out of the car and start running
around,” he said.
“I did my first A-grade game in my
first actual season and I thought it went
well, but it wasn’t for a couple more
years, in 2004, when I did my first
A-grade game in the Barossa.
“From there I became secretary in
2005, president in 2007 and eventually
became the regional manager for the
central zone which encompasses the
Adelaide Plains, North East, northern
areas and the Yorke Peninsula.
“After spending one year in the North
East helping out, I came back and I’ve
been here ever since, and received my
life membership in 2018.”
Asked if he’s ever had thoughts of
hanging up the boots, Goode said he
simply loves what he does.
“My son always says to me that I’ll
die on the field,” he said.
“Even when I got selected to do the
Australian masters in Bali a couple of
times, even those players were younger
than me because I’m 66-years-old now.
“I just love it – I love the people you
meet, and you do need to have thick
skin but I think it’s more than worth it.
“The Barossa league is unlike any
other I’ve seen – you go to other
leagues and you’re not even welcome
in the club rooms, but in the Barossa
you’re always welcome, you’re invited
to the medal dinners and just generally
appreciated.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of
the administration in the Barossa, Light
& Gawler league.”
When asked if he has a favourite
game he’s umpired, Goode said one
stood out clearly.
“I umpired the 2017 A-grade grand
final with Rob Polito and Brad Banks –
it was Kapunda versus Barossa District
– and the atmosphere was unbelievable,”
he said.
“The bigger the crowd, the more I
find it makes you concentrate, and the
A-grade grand final is the ultimate honour
for umpires.
“I’ve been umpiring for 20 years and
I’ve only done one A-grade grand final,
and it was in the year that I won the
Golden Whistle, so 2017 always stands
out for me.”
Goode also said there was one sledge
that he remembers fondly over the journey,
which is 500 games long now as
he had 100 under his belt outside of the
Barossa as well.
“I remember umpiring Aaron King
from Gawler Central and at the beginning
he obviously didn’t know me, or
that I had never played footy.
“At one point I made a decision the
he didn’t really agree with, and he
turned to me and said ‘you have got no
idea – I bet you’ve never even played
the game’.
“There was a stoppage and as I held
the ball I told him he was right, I’d never
played before, and he was absolutely
dumbstruck.
“I get along well with Aaron now and
I even umpire his son – but it took a
while for us to warm up to each other.”

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