Amid all she has achieved in the sport of cricket, Claire Polosak ranks her upcoming induction into Goulburn's Sporting Hall of Fame near the top.
The Goulburn native and current Sydney resident has been a pioneer among female umpires in recent years, and has been recognised by the Goulburn Mulwaree Council for the many records she has set throughout her career.
"I was very surprised," Polosak said.
"I completely did not expect it, it was completely out of the blue and I'm very touched and humbled that the nomination was successful.
"It's exciting to be part of history again and to be that role model for female officials in any sport, to show that opportunities are available."
The list of umpiring records that Polosak holds includes:
- First female umpire to stand in an Australian men's domestic match (2017)
- One of the first pair of female umpires (alongside Eloise Sheridan) to officiate on-field together in a men's professional match in Australia (2018)
- First female umpire to stand in a Women's World T20 final (2018)
- First female umpire to stand in a men's ODI (2019)
- First female umpire to stand in a men's Test match (2021)
- Recipient of the state government's Her Sport Her Way Champion award for work on and off the field (2021)
Yet for the many accomplishments under her belt, a place in Goulburn's Sporting Hall of Fame is particularly poignant.
"It's always special with your home town recognising you," Polosak said.
"I haven't been in Goulburn for a period of time now, so to not be forgotten by the sporting community, it warms your heart a little bit. There's no place like home, really."
The recognition was, she added, slightly jarring. As an official, she said, "you've had a really good day when you don't get noticed".
"So to be singled out in this way is very humbling, and it makes me want to work harder and see what I can do next."
The hectic nature of her work over the last few years is now in sharp contrast to the last few weeks, which Polosak has spent working from home due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney.
She is, however, taking this time to prepare for what she expects to be a "massive" summer of cricket, with both the men's and women's Ashes scheduled in 2021/22.
"We've got the Indian women coming out in September/October, then the England women, and that rolls straight into the women's World Cup early next year in New Zealand, hopefully," Polosak said.
"And then the men have got the one-off Test match against Afghanistan and the Ashes. People will be sick of cricket afterwards, but it's fantastic to see these opportunities popping up."
Though the Ashes is the most prestigious and longest-running event in the history of international cricket, Polosak expects she will be relatively calm should she be asked to officiate during either the men's or women's series.
"If I'm involved in the matches in any capacity, the lead-up has a little bit more hype around it," she said.
"There's a lot of pride and competitiveness between the two countries, but once you step over the line and call play, it's no different to any other game.
"We've got to get straight into our routines to make sure that we're making the best decisions that we can."
As she prepares to take part in yet another international summer of cricket, Polosak took a moment to reflect on the people who helped her begin her umpiring journey.
"There's no way that anything in officiating or sport that you can do without support," she said.
"That was the Goulburn Cricket Umpires Association when I first started. I did my first game with Kevin Hogg at Kenmore Hospital ground.
"The support of my mum and dad and the NSW Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association, and every umpire that you stand with and every player that you have a learning experience with; without that support and those experiences, it's very difficult to get anywhere.
"The induction is something that I'm excited to celebrate with Mum and Dad and the other members of the Umpires' Association."
Polosak is one of four additions to the Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame this year, alongside Tom Toparis, Amy Kolosque, and David Wright. The induction ceremony was originally scheduled to take place last Saturday, but was postponed by council due to COVID-19 concerns.
At the time of writing, there has not yet been a new date set.
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