Dennis Beerling still going strong after 50 years officiating Saskatoon sports
It’s said the best officials go unnoticed, but it’s hard to ignore one who’s been an integral part of Saskatoon’s track and field community for over half a century.
Dennis Beerling is proving good officials do get noticed.
He didn’t plan to become one of Canada’s top track and field officials, it just sort of happened.
“I took the officials’ clinic because I wanted to know the rules better to be a better coach, but they called me to help out and I guess I’m one of those people that, like so many in this city, we don’t mind volunteering,” Beerling said.
That started an officiating career that has now spanned more than five decades and counting. It includes working the 1976 Summer Olympics, the 1978 and 1994 Commonwealth Games, and countless national and international events.
“I was only in it about 10 years when I got enough certification to qualify to be an official at the Olympics. That motivated me to stay on and then after that, two years later was Commonwealth Games so those kind of things kept motivating me. I was lucky that way,” Beerling said.
Beerling still has his distinctive yellow blazer from the Montreal Olympics.
“It was exciting to be there (in Montreal) because you do have the top athletes in the world and Diane Jones was there. I knew Diane from when she was a kid,” Beerling said.
Officiating is only one reason why Beerling was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He also started the Saskatoon Minor Basketball Association, coached minor hockey, spent almost 30 years in a softball dugout, and 15 years as a softball umpire.
Beerling was also named the 1982 Kinsmen sportsman of the year, earned the Canadian Amateur Softball Association outstanding service award, and was inducted into the National Track and Field Officials’ Wall of Fame in 1987.
Officiating track and field remains his number one passion.
“Saskatoon is the hotbed of track in this province, not to mention that for years, 10 or 12 of the officials from here that are all reaching my age have been doing the big meets. They come to Saskatchewan for the officials. We still get called to Manitoba and other places,” Beerling said.
The 77-year-old said he has no plans to put down his starter’s pistol any time soon.
“It’s all been fun or I wouldn’t do it. It’s work too but, no pain, no gain. You’ve got to put some time into … I guess I’m always hoping that we can help make things better,” Beerling said.
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