Intramural officials need experience, confidence

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    By Kurt Jensen

    Playing sports means dealing with officiating, both good and bad.

    Intramural sports are no different. Not a game goes by without both correct and incorrect calls made by the student officials who referee games.

    This situation brings with it the inevitable question of where intramurals get their officials, and how they decide wh is qualified to be one.

    Emily Andrews, the assistant director of intramural activities, said there are three areas of experience she looks for in possible officials. These are experience in officiating, coaching and playing.

    She said she believes if people have experience in all three they have seen different aspects of the game and this helps them be a better official than most other people.

    However, there aren”t very many prospective officials who have experience in officiating alone, not to mention in all three categories.

    “There are a handful that have experience with officiating before intramurals,” Andrews said.

    Because most applicants lack officiating experience Andrews said she looks for other traits that are important to officiating, including confidence and responsibility.

    “Being an official you have to be somewhat confident in yourself,” she said.

    Overcoming the lack of experience among officials presents a problem because they are only able to have two days of training.

    During this training the officials review the rule books and practice officiating mock games for about three hours.

    Andrews said she realizes this training is not sufficient.

    “We encourage them to stick with their rule book. We can”t teach them everything,” she said.

    To compensate for the limited training time, there are mandatory weekly staff meetings with all officials to review rules and help them improve their skills.

    They also try to correct problems that have been noticed and make officials aware of complaints players have made.

    “We continue training throughout the semester,” Andrews said. “I think it is safe to say our officials are improving all the time.”

    So, if officiating experience is not required and there isn”t a lot of training given, what makes people decide to become an official?

    Jared Thomson, 22, a junior from Atlanta, majoring in electrical engineering has been an intramural official for more than a year.

    He said the reason he decided to become an official was “a mix of a need for money and it sounded fun because I like sports.”

    Trevor Griffits, 22, a sophomore from Coeurd”Alene, Idaho majoring in bio-chemistry said he decided to officiate because he liked the sports atmosphere.

    “I like sports and it seemed like a cool way to get to know people,” Griffits said.

    Although both Thomson and Griffits said they decided to officiate because they thought it would be fun, both also said there are challenges to being an official.

    Griffits said the biggest challenge he faced as an official was when players would argue during the games.

    Thomson said the hardest part of officiating is making the right calls. “You have to make sure you know what you”re doing out there or people get mad,” he said.

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