KAYE Hollis’ introduction to umpiring was born out of a financial need.
It’s turned into a lifelong passion.
“I got my badge when I was going through uni – country girl going to the city, of course you continue to play sport,” she said.
“It was pretty expensive down there. The income was part of the factor, so for me to play the sport I needed to find a way to pay for it.
“I took up some umpiring to start that process and it grew from there.”
Hollis received Netball Victoria’s contribution to umpiring award this week for her long-standing dedication to the sport.
The Warrnambool College teacher has been involved with Warrnambool and District Football Netball League since arriving in the south-west 15 years ago.
Hollis, who was raised in the small Wimmera town Donald, played for Merrivale before injuries ended her playing days.
She umpired for another year before her sore back forced her to put down the whistle.
But she missed the sport and is now involved as the District league’s umpires mentor.
“I took a year off to sulk, of course,” Hollis said tongue-in-cheek.
“I just missed the sport and I’ve got so much from the sport over the years.
“When you umpire an amazing game, it just takes you to another place.
“You go into a zone, into a flow, and you come out of it and you have no idea who’s won, the players come up and say ‘thank you’, even when they’ve lost.”
Hollis’ role involves helping new umpires settle in and providing insights and tips.
Her working background – she teaches food and textiles and runs the art technology department – comes in handy.
“I try and see all the clubs and try and touch base and see how they’re going because it’s a people sport and my job is there to support the people,” she said.
The Netball Victoria award was a shock for Hollis who is “very fortunate to be working with some amazing people”.
“It is very much a league award,” she said.
“It shouldn’t just be my name, it should be the league’s name because I could not do anything without the support of the clubs and the netball committee.
“Netball is a team sport and everything is about working as a team and that speaks very highly about how we go about it with the umpiring.
“I work with quite a number of other people to be able to observe and give feedback and to test the umpires.
“The clubs work with us and ring and say ‘we’ve got someone interested in this’.”