For Alan Waterman, the feeling of being inducted into the Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame is just starting to sink in. As a member of the 2019 class of inductees, Waterman will become the third person to be inducted into the newly-minted Officials Category.
Waterman umpired at the international level for 17 years and worked 88 international matches. That includes the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1994 World Cup and three Champions Trophies. He also spent 20 years as an umpire manager. Waterman looks back fondly at his time on the pitch as an international official. “Well, as an umpire, of course doing the Champions Trophies, the numerous ones sitting there in stadiums in Karachi or Lahore,” said Waterman. “You’ve got 80,000 people around you and they’re on three tiers so they’re right over top of you. The fireworks are going off left right et cetera.”
Waterman said that physical and mental preparation helped him throughout his career as an official.
“It’s just more physical out there you are almost as fit as the players; you have to be, especially these days, the game is that much faster,” he said. “ But with that,your mental preparation is paramount. The first thing that goes when you get tired, it’s not your legs, it’s your head. And if you’re heads not in that game, you’re dead.” As Waterman’s international umpiring career wound down, he transitioned naturally to the position of umpire manager. In this role, he was able to impart his wisdom and teachings to the next generation of umpires and officials. This is something Waterman is still active in doing today.
“I have been fortunate,I’ve had so many umpires from kids up to Olympic level that I’ve worked with over the years,” Waterman said, adding that becoming a world class official can start from a young age. “Start young and watch other key officials. Watch loads of videos, watch yourself and above all, always try and find someone on those sidelines who you admire for their hockey prowess and their understanding of the umpiring end of the game and pick their brains.”
Waterman’s induction into the Field Hockey Hall of Fame is a celebration of a world class official and a dedicated member to the Canadian field hockey community.