Mike Walker started his badminton umpiring career at the 1994 Commonwealth Games Victoria, and he is set to end it at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The setting will provide a nice bookend to a career that has taken him around the globe and called some of the biggest matches in the sport over the last 20 years.
"That would be a good swan song to have," said Walker. "England and Scotland, they are very much into badminton, so it's a good venue so you will have lots of spectators and they'll be very knowledgeable."
He is not retiring because he is tired of the grind or the commitment; the Badminton World Federation operates with a standard that all officials must retire at age 55.
It's a missive that he has no issue with. It helps avoid political issues over trying to coax officials who no longer have the physical capabilities - the reaction times and eyesight - out of the chair and on what those guidelines should be.
While Walker, 54, is not concerned about his capabilities of being able to oversee an elite badminton match right now, he doesn't want to get to the point where he finds himself in the position that he is effecting matches for all the wrong reasons.
It is no simple task sitting up in the judge's chair or on the line watching for service errors.
Ashuttlecock at the international level can fly as fast as 400 kilometres an hour.
"The magical part from my stand point is, the guy on the other side of the net is more often than not hitting it back," said Walker.
He got into umpiring almost by chance.
He had played badminton while growing up in high school and the sport helped him get an education, playing for the then Malasapina College team. It is also where he met his wife, Janice Walker who now coaches the Vancouver Island University Mariners team.
Walker went on to play for a military team as he continued his education, but while training, he felt his back go out. With all of the fast stopping and starting, and awkward stretching for shots, badminton is particularly hard on the body.
His playing days were over. He took an umpiring course and eventually upgraded to national status.
He was one of 20 umpires from across Canada who were brought in to assist in officiating the badminton tournament at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria in 1994 when he was approached by a high ranking official, Francis Siow, to see if he had any interest in going up to the international level.
He was assessed in Prague and later in Norway and was upgraded to international status in 1998 and a couple of years later he earned his certificate level - the highest level a badminton umpire can reach. To keep his certification, he has to officiate at least 100 matches a year. In his career he has worked 240 tournaments and thousands of matches.
In 2004 he was selected to officiate at the Athens Olympics, and four years later he was asked to do the Beijing Olympics, working the women's pairs bronze medal match between China and Korea, which he says was better than the gold medal match.
"The gold medal match was an all-China match, so it didn't have the same intensity as the bronze medal match," said Walker. "It was an unbelievable match, they had 100-shot rallies, they had standing ovations in the middle of the rallies, it was incredible what they were doing."
His favourite match was the semifinal of the 2004 Thomas Cup - badminton's premier international tournament, pitting countries against each other - between Indonesia and Denmark, two of the sport's biggest powers. The match was between the top-ranked men's player from each country - Peter Gade of Denmark and Sony Dwi Koncoro.
It was badminton at its best, and Denmark eventually beat the host Indonesian in Jakarta.
"Jakarta for badminton is like Montreal for hockey," said Walker. "Think of it as the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final in Montreal, that's the kind of noise. Unbelievable."
He is the only Canadian at this level of officiating in badminton, though there are two others currently in the process of becoming certified.
There are no Canadian players among the world elite, and while that is a little disappointing, it has worked to Walker's advantage.
The sport does its best to avoid conflicts and controversy on the court and will not allow an official call a match involving a player of the same nationality. Walker's passport frees him up to call everything.
There have been a few lowlights along the way. He was at the Canadian Open in July in Vancouver where a fight broke out between two Thai players and was captured on video, going viral.
It wasn't his match, but he watched it unfold.
"It's really unfortunate the only time badminton makes the news out here is for something like that or the situation in the Olympics where four teams were disqualified for trying to throw their match," he said.
Like every official, he has also had situations where he knew he made a regrettable mistake that affected the outcome of a match.
The one that sticks out in his mind was a Thomas Cup European Zone semifinal match between the Netherlands and Sweden.
The Swedish player won the first game 15-10 and was up 10-5 in the second game. There was a call for new shuttles and the players warmed up with them. But when they resumed play, the scoreboard read 9-5 and they served as such. The rally was long and eventually won by the Swedish player, but Walker was forced to call "let" - or re-serve - due to the incorrect score.
The Swedish player lost it on Walker, and was so rattled he didn't win another point until it was 10-0 for the Dutch player in the third game.
"I wish I was somewhere else," is all Walker could think at the time.
"But we all make mistakes and it's important that we put it behind ourselves and move on."
However, he learned a lot from that "on-court catastrophe." Regardless of the sport, he says it's important for young officials to not collapse in these situations, but to learn from them and be better because of them.
Walker has a busy final year ahead of him including the Super Series final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December, the Arctic Winter Games in February, the Thomas/Uber Cup finals in New Delhi, India, the Canada Cup and then the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. He is already taking courses to get his certification as an assessor - an evaluator of officials - and will continue his career in the sport.
He certainly has not gotten rich from officiating. In fact between lost wages and expenses, it has been a very expensive hobby, but not one he would trade for the world.
"There's a cost every time I go to one of the tournaments, but it's a cost of getting paid at work versus life experiences and I would much rather have the life experiences," he said.
"I have friends all over the world and I've seen places that have been truly fantastic."
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