Gippsland umpire Gary Scholz’s gigantic milestone

MILESTONE MAN: Gary holds the game ball up as he steps onto the field and is acknowledged for his huge milestone.

ONLY four players in VFL-AFL history have reached the 400-game mark, but if you double that milestone you get Gippsland umpire Gary Scholz, who achieved an even more remarkable feat on Saturday.

Gary was one of the umpires for the Leongatha game against Moe, officiating his 800th game.

He has reached the milestone after 26 years, a journey he loves more each week.

“I love footy, so it’s just about always being involved in it where I can,” he said.

“I look back on it, 800 games in 26 years, my body has held up and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been doing all the way through.”

The 41-year-old umpired multiple games a weekend as a field and goal umpire for 20 of those 26 years.

While the veteran has enjoyed almost every moment, there have been times where he has needed to withstand criticisms and push through games.

“You’ve got to have a bit of a thick skin to be honest,” Gary said.

“It can be hard but if you take to heart all the comments that come from the players and come over the fence you probably won’t last very long.”

Among the highlights of his storied career are TAC cup and the relationships he has developed.

“I goal umpired TAC cup for eight years and it was so enjoyable to just be a part of it and see those next-level young players coming through,” he said.

“Also just getting out there and umpiring with people you make really good friendships with is fantastic.”

Perhaps his biggest highlight was played out on Saturday though, when Gary took to the field for his 800th game.

Not only because of his milestone, but because he got to share it with his wife Sarah, who umpired in the other goal, and 14-year-old son Zack, who made his senior debut as a field umpire.

“It’s enjoyable to have my wife and son out there with me,” Gary said.

“To be able to share the experience with them is really special.”

With Gary performing perfectly as Leongatha romped their way to a huge win, there may be many more games yet to be added to his remarkable record.


Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=29828

Posted by on Aug 23 2019. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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