You may know Jill Donald (above) as a player, or as the hard working development officer at Forfar Indoor Sports. But did you know that she is a qualified umpire, and has been invited to officiate at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, January 13-22? I wrote about the WYOG back in March, see here, and since then the young curlers who have been selected to represent GB have been (unofficially) named, see here. A rink will be constructed within the Innsbruck Exhibition Centre for the curling competition.
I understand that it was the International Olympic Committee who suggested to the World Curling Federation that it would be a good idea if the umpires for the WYOG were in a younger age group (under 35) than normally seen at international curling events. This idea was certainly embraced by the Royal Club's Umpire Committee. It turns out that two Scots are in the umpiring team for the WYOG, Jill, and Lorna Smith. They will join Tim Bastian (Germany) and Marcus Schmidt (Austria) as game umpires. Eeva Rothlisberger is the Chief Umpire, and Alexander Orlov is her deputy.
We all tend to think of curling umpires as 'old'! At 27, Jill bucks that trend! She was recruited to the umpiring ranks by Leslie Ingram-Brown who for many years chaired the Royal Club Umpire Committee. Anne Malcolm is now the convenor of that committee, with Alan Stanfield in particular providing new enthusiasm and insights into the recruitment and training of Scottish umpires.
Jill says that she has enjoyed learning to be an umpire and how she now better understands the rules of the game. "People look to you for answers," she says, adding, "The sport does need younger umpires."
Have you thought of being an umpire? Even if you just want to learn more about the game without any further commitment to becoming an umpire, then consider yourself invited to a one day umpire course at Forfar Indoor Sports, November 5. The details can be found here. Any age welcome!
Jill of course is just delighted that the course is to be held at her own Forfar rink. She'll be on hand if anyone wants to ask her about her own experiences these past few years. She'll even tell you, I'm sure, how much she is looking forward to being involved at Innsbruck!
Photo © Skip Cottage