Be A CYC Sports Official

Be A CYC Sports Official

When I was in high school, during the basketball season, I worked at our parish gym as a scorekeeper for CYC games.  One year, our parish priest asked me if I would be interested in officiating.  I loved basketball, but was not a very good player.  I thought refereeing would give me an opportunity to be a part of the game.

I was right.  I started working CYC games, sometimes three or four a day.  I was hooked.  After a few years, I started to officiate high school games in the St Louis area.  Over the next 38 years, I would officiate in almost every high school gym in the St Louis area.  Lots of memorable games; highs and lows; valued friendships.

Everything in officiating ties in to real life experiences.  Just like playing the game, officiating teaches life lessons. Here are some examples of what sports officiating can do for you:

  • Learn how to make decisions – Access the situation, determine the right way to go, make the call. Sometimes in a split second.  Officiating helps to build the confidence to make decisions and to make them without hesitation.
  • Communication skills – Talking to players and discussing situations with coaches. The need to learn how to explain your decisions, and to try and address tense situations is invaluable in life. Good officials can calm a heated discussion with their words and demeanor.
  • Dealing with adversity – Officiating teaches you how to act when you are in tough situation. Crowd gets on you, coaches are yelling, players are complaining.  Sometimes they are right.  Sometimes they are clueless.  You learn to know the difference and you learn to deal with it appropriately.
  • Dealing with pressure – Tie score. Timeout. Five seconds left in the game. If the shot is taken, it will be your call, good or not. Learning to deal with the pressure and do what is right is a skill you will use in real life.
  • Work as a team – How you work with your partner(s) on the court or field is a big part of your success. If your partner is good, learn from them. If they are weak, help them. When they are in tough spot, help them.
  • Be in shape – Chasing kids up and down the court or field will keep you in good physical shape. You will learn how to take care of yourself so you will be physically and mentally prepared for the game.

The greatest benefit of officiating is the lifelong friendships you develop.  The referee family is strong and tight-knit.  We take care of each other and look after each other.  We have a common love of the sport we work and mutual admiration for those who work the games.

The CYC has seen a shortage of officials in all of our sports.  We are no different than any other youth sports organization.  We have already seen soccer games postponed or cancelled because of lack of officials.  There are a lot of reasons for the shortage, but the main cause may be fan behavior.  Officials are tired of the constant criticism and lack of respect.

This is especially disheartening when our new officials are trying to learn.  Sure, they will make mistakes, and at times seem like they are lost.  Often times, when mistakes are made, they get frustrated.  When adults are yelling at them during the game, their frustration grows, and their concentration suffers.  Yelling at refs does not help your child’s team or the official’s performance.

If you are looking for an opportunity to be a part of the game you love, I would encourage you to try officiating.  It is a great avocation for many of the reasons listed above.  The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Go to our website for more information:  Contact your parish sport coordinator to find out how you can officiate CYC sports at your parish or nearby.

On the weekend of February 18-20, the CYC is sponsoring “Thank A Ref” weekend.  When you attend you child’s CYC game this weekend, take the opportunity to thank the refs.  Try to be aware of the work involved in reffing a CYC game. Appreciate the time and effort our CYC officials take to keep our games fun.