Real World Lessons From A Football Game
Filled in with a different football officiating crew Friday night. BTW, I just don't get the "drag to sort" as it bollocks up my lists so it isn't in the order I want.
Basically the game, from an officiating POV, was a cluster, but a lot of lessons to learn:
1. Don't Always Agree To Take On Things You're Not Good At
The position I usually work has responsibility for managing the play clock. I can do it by rote.
But in this game, I worked the opposite side of the field, and had responsibility for backing up the game clock. Had to buy a new watch to do so, and not only did I have problems operating it (reset it several times by accident), but the operator of the scoreboard clock was new, and wasn't paying attention a number of times during the game. Because of this, I was out of sorts all game. And other things that happened made it worse.
2. Pressure Causes Mental Vapor Lock
One of the hardest things to do officiating football is the goal line call. Whether a run or pass, you need to be in the right position with a lot of things going on. For a pass, was the catch made? Did the receiver get one foot inbounds (high school rule)? Was there pass interference?
At the end of a close game, with the losing team throwing the pass, it gets harder.
Well, on a pass to the end zone, the defender intercepted the ball. Clearly. Landed in the end zone. But the official on the goal line was too close to the sideline (we're supposed to back up a couple yards at least). No call from that official.
I was on the goal line at the far sideline, with a clear look at the catch and landing, and was able to confer with the crew to get the call right.
How to avoid it? First, know where you need to be and what you need to be looking at. Second, slow down and breathe. Third, try to lose tunnel vision - I will look to the other officials before a play just to remember that there's a whole big field out there. Finally, plain old experience... the more you experience it, the better you can be.
3. You Never Know Who You'll Meet
One of the police officers working security asked us if we knew his father in law, who just retired from football officiating. His FIL was one of my officiating mentors, and is a good friend of mine.
The best part of the night.
4. Have The Right Equipment
The watch I bought was not easily used for football. I didn't buy the "ugly" big watch that other officials use, because I don't like how big it is. But it has one button start / stop, large numbers, and large buttons. My bad for "chasing fashion" rather than practicality. The "ugly" watch will arrive today.
5. Don't Assume The Game Is Over
Visitors up by three touchdowns at the start of the second half. Home team kept playing, visitors got blown up on a hot, humid night. Home team won by two points. Gotta keep focus.
6. Don't Assume Similar Skills / Experience
Despite fairly standard training in our association, can't assume others know the basics. The guys on the crew each demonstrated lack of knowledge and experience. One demonstrated dipshittery, which made the night tough.
7. One Bad Personality In "Authority" Can Make Things 10X Harder
We had a blow-hard referee, who "knows it all" and spent pre-game, during the game, and after the game finding every chance to berate the rest of the crew.
And he totally blew a rule, throwing a flag for illegal forward pass (two passes) when the ball was handed off then passed. A handoff doesn't count as a pass.
Cost the offense a long gain, and a loss of down. Refused to acknowledge it afterwards.
He's new with this crew. Feel bad for them.