Family journey - The Hooper's
Club Athletes to Officials a family affair.
Our officiating journeys more formally started around 2010, but we had been helping out for many years prior to this.
My love affair with athletics started in 1973 when as 11 years old. My mum, Mary Webb, took me to Cardiff AAC (Maindy stadium) one sunny evening to have a go, and I was instantly hooked. As with a number of parents my mum, along with my Nana Webb, became regulars at events both home and away. My mum would go onto team manage for many years along with helping out at meetings Officiating on the field, while my nan always looked after the Cardiff team’s bags in the stand.
Photograph of my mum (Mary Webb) helping on the Long Jump back in the day.
Rob’s journey into athletics started again with Cardiff AAC in 1978, although he had been competing in schools athletics prior to this. Actually this is when Rob & I first met as athletes in the same coaching group. As time went on I moved into competitive Masters Athletics along with helping out whenever I could, Track Judging, raking the pit and announcing. Rob eventually went into coaching along with being team manager for the Cardiff Men’s Welsh Senior League team for many years and again helped out Officiating where needed.
One Sunday, Cardiff was hosting a YDL meeting and Rob’s group, along with myself, had been training prior to the meeting. As a few of the training group were competing so we stayed to watch. Before the meeting we were approached by Kay James and ask if we could help out as “we are short of officials”. What do you need we asked and it turned out they needed a Track Judge and a Starter Asst, Rob went on the Track and I went to see Pete Duggan who was the Starter. Not knowing what I was required to do, and I will say not dressed appropriately (skirt, top and sandals), Pete explained the Starter Assistants role. Thankfully being a YDL meeting it is all pre drawn with lanes, but I must have enjoyed it as this started me on my way.
Rob went onto gain his L1 for Track Judging in 2011 along with his Starter Asst L1 and he continued with his journey to L3 as a Starter and Starter Asst along with his L3 Sprints Coach qualification, and continues to coach at the Cardiff Club.
I gained my L4 Starter Asst in January 2018 spending 2 years as an L4p, and in January 2020 the “p” was removed, so I am now a fully-fledged L4. As a L4 I have been privileged to officiate at 2 outdoor and 1 indoor British championships and an indoor GP, which happened to the last competition held at the Birmingham indoor track. I still enjoy officiating at the junior leagues and find it rewarding supporting young athletes to compete, many for the first time.
Rob and I are almost always together at meetings; that said if you get one, you normally get us other, so we are “BOGOF” team.
Rob & myself cannot recommend officiating enough, it forms a significant part of our lives, and you can get so much satisfaction out of watching the athletes develop and perform, getting PBs or just enjoying the reward of competition. The Welsh Officiating community to me is like an extended family.
Anyone reading this who would like to have a go then please get in touch, Sue is our Officials Support Officer you can contact her via email.