become a better official this year.
As an official in the state of Michigan
we each work as an independent contractor. That in essence
means we are a business entity and we provide a service to
schools as an official. Normally when a school hires a contractor
to do work for them, they look to hire a person who has good
credentials, knows his or her job well and can be expected
to do a job that will meet the schools expectations. Most
contractors are licensed by the state and have to meet a
certain level of proficiency in order to get their license.
In addition they are required to take continuing education
classes at their own expense to keep their proficiency up
to current standards.
Let’s examine what an MHSAA official has to do to become
an independent contractor official. You must pay a minimal fee
and attend an on-line rules meeting that includes answering a few
multiple choice questions. If you miss any of the questions you
simply need to go back and retake that part of the test over and
with only 3 or 4 possible answers to choose from, you would need
at most 4 tries to get any question correct. You are now a registered
MHSAA official. You could be legally blind; you could be confined
to a wheel chair; you don’t need to know a single thing about
the sport you are registered to officiate. However, you are registered
to officiate a MHSAA sanctioned event in your sport as an independent
contractor. Would you consider hiring an electrician to rewire
your house that doesn’t know what they are doing?
The problem the state has is there are not enough officials in
any give sport so they can pick and choose only the best to work
their events. We likely have all worked with or perhaps are an
official who is very deficient in the skills required to be a great
or even good official in your sport. How about if this year you
make a commitment to fix that problem? Become a better official.
You are trying to sell a service. Why not make it a great service?
Here are a few thoughts to consider;
• Do you regularly sit down after an event and discuss with your officiating
partners what went well and what didn’t go so well in the event and what
should or could be done differently next time?
• Did you have to sanction a coach for getting out of line? Perhaps had
you done your job better, you would not have had to issue a sanction.
• How many times have you read the rule book for your sport? I would suggest
that 1 or 2 or 3 times is not near enough.
• Are you in good enough shape physically to get where you need to get
to make the calls you need to make in your sport, if not try fixing the problem?
• When was the last time you attended a camp or clinic that was designed
to make you a better official in your sport?
• Have you purchased a new shirt, new pants or a new pair of shoes in the
last year or two so you look professional?
If I want to sell my services as a doctor, I had better be a darn
good doctor or I will not have many patients. If I want to be a
plumber, I had better be good at my craft or I will not have many
calls to fix plumbing problems. So why not be a good official?
Stop complaining about not getting assigned to good events and
only getting crappy assignments. Do what you can to become a better
official. It’s the only thing you can control that will get
you better assignments. Read the rule book again and again. Lose
some weight and get in shape physically. Spend some time and money
and attend a clinic to get better at officiating your sport. The
athletes you officiate deserve it.
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