One little decision can alter a man’s life and for Chris Shannon it came 17 years ago when he was at home with a beer in hand and snag on the barbecue.
After a hanging up the boots a year earlier at the mighty Katandra Kats, Shannon had put on a kilogram or two and needed to keep fit, and that is when Reggie Hudson called to ask whether Shannon would like to join his brother, Mick, central umpiring.
‘‘I answered and I told him I’d be down there tomorrow night,’’ Shannon said.
‘‘I went to training on Thursday and then I umpired my first game on the Saturday, it was a GVL thirds game between Tongala and Mooroopna.’’
Now almost two decades on Shannon is set to umpire his 300th senior game for the Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association when he blows the whistle tomorrow.
‘‘I never thought that’d eventuate when I went down on that Thursday, but now I will be doing my 300th game when Shepp Swans take on Shepparton at Princess Park,’’ Shannon said.
Come tomorrow Chris and Mick will have each umpired 300 senior games, with the latter reaching the milestone in 2015, meaning they are the first ever brothers in the GVFUA to umpire that many games.
‘‘It is an incredible achievement, it shows commitment, loyalty and I reckon about 20 others have only umpired that many games,’’ GVFUA president Darren Meek said.
‘‘He has averaged about 20 games a year, so it just goes to show how bloody good he is.’’
Shannon is not one to shy away from the big occasion having central umpired two Kyabram District Football League grand finals, but the best individual performance he has seen was that of Drew Barnes.
Barnes, who is playing with Yarrawonga, put on a clinic a few years ago when Nathalia played Tocumwal in the Murray Football League.
‘‘I reckon he would have had the most kicks ever in a single game and if he didn’t have more than 60, I’ll go he,’’ Shannon said.
‘‘He was sublime that day and I don’t think off the top of my head I have seen a better performance from one player in a single game.’’
At 56, Shannon does not know how long he will continue to blow the whistle for, but he is certain it will not be for another 300 games.
‘‘Who knows what will happen, but it’s fair to say I won’t be doing another 300 games,’’ Shannon said with a laugh.