Winner's wise advice after deserved reward
HAVING recently returned from Malaysia, Aaron Gotting was just happy to be among the finalists at the latest City of Ipswich Sports Awards.
He didn't expect to win one of the eight prestigious accolades.
However, after being named Official of the Year, the Raceview-based hockey umpire offered one of the best pieces of advice on the night.
"If you do love the game and you want to keep involved in it, why not try something different like doing the umpiring side of it or doing some coaching,'' Gotting said. "To help out someone else as well.''
For A-Grade player Gotting, pursuing his umpiring career has been especially rewarding.
On his most recent trip to Malaysia, he officiated in six matches at the Sultan of Johor Cup under-21 series. Joining Malaysia and Australia were teams from Great Britain, New Zealand, Japan and India.
While he didn't get to umpire the gold medal match, the rising Ipswich-bred whistleblower enjoyed the valuable experience he gained controlling games at his first international tournament.
"I umpired quite well and got good feedback,'' he said, highlighting it "definitely'' lived up to expectations.
"I got to see how the other teams and countries play, because they play different styles all around the world and that.
"With umpiring you have to watch that a lot more.
"In Australia, we don't get exposed to that as much.
"They were quite fast-paced games as well. You've just got to be on your toes.''
Among the matches he umpired was the host nation playing Japan.
"With the crowd that came out, it was fairly intense because you had the involvement from the crowd, being so noisy and stuff,'' he said.
"That was probably one of the best games to umpire.''
Gotting, 26, also had to acclimatise to the hottest conditions he's ever umpired in.
"It felt like almost like 40 (degrees) every day over there,'' he said.
But no sooner had he arrived back in Australia and Gotting had another mission.
He was assigned to umpire with one of his mentors Ben De Young in the third round Australian Hockey League (AHL) match between Queensland and Tasmania in Brisbane.
Gotting was also asked to officiate in the AHL final series on the Gold Coast but had to decline having used up his holiday time.
He made his AHL umpiring debut the previous year.
In past seasons, Gotting has umpired a number of Super League tournaments and national junior championships.
He was also appointed umpire manager at the inaugural Festival of Hockey series on the Gold Coast last year.
Recognised as one of Queensland's up and coming umpires, Gotting was earlier this year invited to officiate in some Commonwealth Games practice matches in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.
Buoyed by his recent experience, Gotting is already looking to see what opportunities arise next year after having a break.
He expects to resume pre-season training in January.
And that's why winning his Ipswich award meant so much.
"I was pretty stoked with it,'' he said. "I wasn't really expecting to win it or anything.
"It was really good. For me, it shows that the hard work does pay off in the long run.''