Best ref wanted to be an All Black
Tim Bond wanted to be an All Black.
So when his mum signed him up to play hockey without telling him, it is no wonder he was initially gutted.
But the then six-year-old quickly came to love the sport and unveiled a hidden talent for not only playing the game, but refereeing it.
And now, there's no doubt he owes a thank you to his mum following his recent success in being named Best Referee at the Counties Manukau Sports Awards
The Howick resident says he was surprised but honoured by the award.
"There are a lot of other people who have done lots of things for sport so it's a real privilege and one I wasn't expecting."
Tim is an International Hockey Federation umpire and has umpired eight test matches this year.
Four of these matches were at the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia - a competition that featured six of the top 14 ranked teams in the world.
Tim umpired games that included Australia v India, India v Pakistan, Korea v Pakistan and a second playoff between India and Pakistan at the event.
Hockey matches between India and Pakistan are renowned as the most fiercely contested in world hockey. The two nations have both won a total of 11 Olympic gold medals in what is the national sport of both countries.
Diana Dowdle of the Howick-Pakuranga Hockey Club, where Tim is a member, says few umpires are trusted to umpire on India v Pakistan match in their career.
"For Tim to be appointed to umpire two at one tournament is an incredible achievement," she says.
Refereeing hockey can at times be stressful with a lot of pressure and gamesmanship, Mr Bond says.
"Sometimes players test you out to see if they can put doubt in your mind. But if a game goes well it can be really enjoyable."
The business consultant says refereeing a game requires mental fitness.
"Being able to focus for a long period of time in difficult environments means the mental aspect is a lot harder than the physical aspect."
He still plays hockey but says that at some stage for the career element he will have to stop to focus on umpiring.
And all going well, he hopes to add umpiring at the Olympics to his list of accolades.
"It will be hard but nothing worth doing is ever easy."
- Eastern Courier
Are our classrooms becoming overcrowded?