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Ten reasons to learn how to officiate sports

In the US, there is a critical shortage of sports officials. We're aging, and as folks retire and quit, games are being rescheduled or cancelled due to lack of officials. The AI pictures were, well, bizarre.

Ten reasons to learn how to officiate sports

    1. Give back to the game

    If you love the game, officiating is a way to give back.

    2. A little extra cash

    Officiating pays. Doing youth games or tournaments can get you several games in a day at one location. Some old timers actually paid for second homes with what they made officiating.

    3. Make new friends

    Even for sports that don't use crews, like football does, you'll meet a good deal of good people who are generally supportive of one another.

    4. Get out of the house

    And get away from the office. A nice change of pace, and some days a reason to get out of bed.

    5. Support the kids

    If there aren't officials, the games will go away. The kids are mostly good, respectful, and work hard at their sport.

    6. Go to places you haven't been

    I've been to almost every high school in Northern NJ, as well as a lot of great diners before Saturday games and pizza joints and bars after Friday night games.

    7. Stimulate your brain

    Keeping up on rules, philosophies, and mechanics keeps the mind fresh. And using them on the fly when you need to make a call.

    8. Exercise

    A football game is worth about 10K to 12K steps, running, changing directions, backpedaling in some instances.

    9. Improve your people skills

    Dealing with coaches and players who are competitive and not happy about a call gives you plenty of practice in people skills under pressure.

    10. Something to talk about

    Usually have some good discussions when people learn you officiate. And you can tell your stories (you'll have many) about "what happened" at "that game."

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