Lessons From The Gridiron

I've noted on Pisteuomen a couple of times that this year I started officiating football (and soon to come, basketball). As an official, you're supposed to be as "in-the-know" as possible; you're supposed to know all of the rules, the ins-and-outs of the game, etc. Yet, while you're supposed to "know" everything, it goes without saying that you're going to learn things as well. Here are a few things I've learned from my first year of officiating:

1. If coaches are professional and disciplined, the whole program is disicplined. If the coaches are professional and disciplined, the players, parents, program coordinators, etc. are also professional and disciplined. You can tell a difference, even, in the way players who have a professional and disciplined coach get in their stances and those who do not. It all comes back to the coach!

2. Some parents take little league sports way too seriously. Now, I know they pay for jerseys, cleats, etc. and that they put a lot of time into taking kids to practice and picking them up. But there is just no excuse for acting "out of control" in front of your children and everyone else over a call you think should have been made (that actually, probably shouldn't have). I saw one parent this season grab his child's facemask and scream at him. A few moments later, the child went over and tried to stand next to his dad on the sideline. The dad proceeded to put his arm around 3 other players and coach them while telling is own son (8 years old) to "get out of my face". A couple of minutes after that, a coach from the same team approached me and said "That guy shows no love to his son does he?"

3. A guy in the top row of the bleachers on the opposite 30-yard line, can always see what happened down on the other side of the field better than the official who was right on top of the play. (Yeah right!)

4. When officiating, patience and coolness must be practiced virtues!

5. Officiating provides good mental and physical exercise, a good opportunity to give back to the community and an opportunity to teach/learn. The extra pay is not a bad bonus!


  1. Coming as a former soccer referee (had to get out of it to due time constraints), I have to give a hearty amen. Especially to #2. Especially for young un's. My worst games were experience with younger age groups U8/U10 in which the parents are a) incredibly over protective and b) so competitive that they disregard others, even their own.

  2. It's incredibly tough not to say anything when those kinds of things happen but alas, you're not hired to do that and in most cases, told not to.