Anyone would have forgiven Launceston 16-year-old Casey Fellows for pursuing a career playing footy.
The son of Tasmanian Football Hall of Fame umpire Terry, Fellows finished last season fifth in the NTJFA's under-16 league best and fairest, and was best on ground in a representative match against the state's South.
So it came as a shock to many - especially to his dad - when the Launceston College student decided to ditch the boots and pick up a whistle.
One year on, the teenager is preparing to make his TSL senior debut in Saturday's clash between Launceston and North Hobart.
"I got a big surprise when he said he was going into umpiring," Terry said.
"I said 'do you realise boundary umpiring's a pretty hard caper? You've got to go up and down all day'.
"He said 'I'm not going on the boundary, I'm going straight in the middle', so he had his vision."
A Northern Tasmanian Football Umpires Association life member, Terry umpired about 370 senior games in a career which also included two State League grand finals in 1988 and 1990.
Describing the practice of umpiring as "a good character builder", Terry tipped his son to handle the pressure of senior football with ease.
"I'm really pleased - I didn't expect his progression to be this quick but I know how much effort he puts into it.
"He trains hard and he researches things extremely hard - annoys all buggery out of me asking questions - but he's really genuine about what he's doing and he's got a cool head.
"He's far more mature than a 16-year-old is normally out on the ground ... he's done really well and we're very proud of him."
Having umpired in the NTFA's first division last year, Casey umpired a handful of TSL practice games in the pre-season before kicking off round one in the development league.
With two home and away matches and the backing of state coach Cameron Lee under his belt, the former Prospect Hawk is excited but level-headed about his debut.
"I'm looking forward to it but I can't really get too excited - it's not really this one that will be overly important, it's backing it up and doing multiple games and being consistent with it," Casey said.
"I think as an umpire you can't really be excited because you've got to be the one to be cool.
"You can't really get too hyped about it, you've just got to go out there and treat it like any other game except the pace goes up and it's a higher level of footy.
"But I'm looking forward to it, it's satisfying."
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