9 Reasons Why You Should Become an Official
There is one thing concerning on the minds for all of those involved in high schools athletics right now. That is a potential shortage of officials. In our home state of Michigan, a Lansing State Journal article written by Eric Lacy states “For nine straight academic years, the Michigan High School Athletic Association has seen the number of registered officials for sporting events drop.” It’s not just happening in Michigan, but all across the country.
The reasons for this are well known. Officials are retiring at a faster rate than new officials are coming in. Unfortunately anger from some parents and coaches is also contributing to this. “One of the most challenging parts of officiating is the small, but vocal, fans that use their energy to berate us. “General groaning or booing is to be expected, it’s the insults that are tough. There’s not always much that can be done,” said veteran official of 15 years Chris Dennie. “I like to interact with some of the fans in the crowd pre-game or during breaks so they can see us as regular people.” While there are some tough times, there are so many positives to becoming an official. Here are 9 reasons why you should become a referee.
Give Back To Your Sport
There are plenty of great ways to give back to sports you once played. Officiating is a way you can stay involved. Whether its once a month, or three times a week, there’s always something you can do when it comes to officiating. Options include working with youth, middle school, high school, and more!
Make Some Additional Money
Looking for a way to earn additional income? Officiating is a great way to make it happen. According to an article in USA Today, you can make up to $1,000 a week refereeing multiple events.
“It’s definitely an enjoyable way to earn a little extra money,” said Addix account manager and high school basketball referee John VanHammen. “I know my playing days are behind me, but I still get to enjoy the game of basketball as well.”
Learn More About the Game
Officiating is hard. There’s no doubt about it. While it can be easy sitting in the stands to get frustrated with officials, it is likely they probably know more about the game than we do. Officials know the rules of their sport inside and out. Get bragging rights next time you’re watching the big game with your family and you can make the call on the field.
Great For Exercise
Depending on the sport you’re looking to officiate, there are definitely options to become more active and exercise. Football and soccer officials certainly will get their exercise in as they keep up with play. Another great sport to officiate that will burn some calories is hockey.
Get Involved In A Game You Love
There’s no better way to get involved in a sport you once played, or really enjoy, than becoming an official! “You get to meet tons of people from officiating, you become brothers with your crew, and that is something that I thoroughly enjoy,” three year high school football referee Connor Kirkpatrick told us. Expanding your social and professional network is always important and can lead to many great opportunities. “I really like how it keeps me around the game of football. I enjoyed my high school football experience and when I’m officiating it makes me feel like I did when I was playing under the lights.”
Help Athletes Have The Same Opportunities You Did
If there aren’t enough officials in the near future, it could be disastrous for high school athletics as a whole. Games could be cancelled, seasons could be shortened, or worse. By becoming an official, you’re helping athletes enjoy the games they love without having to worry about an officiating shortage.
Veteran official of 15 years, Chris Dennie, has the unique excitement of officiating on some occasions with his son. “Working with him is really cool. It’s fun to try to teach him and see him get better. Just to spend that time with him has made those games we worked together really special.
Get To Travel To Places You Never Would’ve Otherwise
Traveling is one of the great perks of officiating. Our country is full of unique towns, landmarks, and schools. There are unique athletic venues all around for high schools as well.
Get Cool Gear
Lets face it who wouldn’t want to wear the striped gear the officials have? Maybe you’ll be wearing some Addix officiating gear in the near future!
From youth to high school to college and even the pros, there are many opportunities that await you when you decide to become an official. No doubt, these will take years to work towards your goal. Who knows, you could be the official in Super Bowl 76! For those interested please contact your state’s athletic association.