Experienced Port Elizabeth indoor cricket umpire Mike Alvarez reached an impressive milestone last week when he officiated in his 2 000th recorded game.
Alvarez, 56, has been involved in indoor cricket at the Hunters Arena for 22 years and there is no sign of him letting up soon.
He started off as a player before venturing into umpiring, a move motivated by his wanting to give back to the sport that had given him so much enjoyment as a player.
He said his love for the game was what had kept him going for such a long time. “I played cricket throughout my school career. I was more of a batsman,” he said.
“I also played for the Union Cricket Club in Park Drive for 30 years. I stopped playing cricket when I was 50.” Alvarez started umpiring in 1994 while working at Hunters Indoor Cricket Arena.
“I actually owned the arena during 1995 and 1996, but passed it on to someone else. “But I carried on umpiring. “That 2 000 mark was from 2011 until 2016.
That was the only time they had official records. “From 1994 to 2016, I probably umpired as many as another 5 000 games.”
According to Alvarez, indoor cricket is not given enough exposure. He said the issue might be that, unlike outdoor cricket where cricketers paid club subscriptions yearly, in indoor cricket payment was per game.
“You are paying to play a game which lasts for basically 1½ hours. I think that is the issue but then again if you want to play the game, you must be prepared to pay for it.
“That is just how it works.” Alvarez is also popularly known as the man to call on for music trivia evenings. He is also the owner of Triple M Mobile Disco, a name which now has become his nickname.
And how does he juggle ever ything? “It’s a bit of hard work.
“But if you have a passion for something, you work hard,” he said. “I umpire on a Saturday and I do the music trivia on Friday and Saturday night. “I DJ as well. “I have actually had a mobile disco for 33 years.
“Some people think ‘Triple M’ means ‘Mike’s Magic Music’ but that is not the case at all,” Alvarez said.