Any sport officials here?
I'm a American football official and was wondering if there were any other officials on Tildes.
What sport(s) do you officiate? Why do you officiate? Why do you think officiating is declining? What's something you'd change to improve the experience?
I'll chime in after the discussion gets started! Look forward to having some quality discussion!
Not a sports official, but:
If what I witnessed occurring at several of my nephew's soccer games is any indication, I would say a big part of that decline is probably because so many parents are total a-holes to the officials at their kids' games (my sister isn't though, thankfully). What made their behavior especially insane and infuriating to me was that everyone on my nephew's team are preschoolers (3-5 years old) and so they mostly just run around chasing the ball, sometimes just lie down and take a break in the middle of the pitch, etc. If some parents are that crazy even during games for kids of that age, I can't even imagine how awful it is to officiate games when the competition actually gets more serious and meaningful.
Yeah, definitely takes thick skin. My crew and I were talking about this the other day. It's interesting that officials are held to a high degree of decorum, but coaches (and parents) are given much more leeway. I'm interested in why the culture allows this and wonder if there are ways to begin to change the culture.
Not an official, but I'll add my 2 cents to at least get a discussion going.
The biggest challenge I see for modern officiating is balancing human and video review. I think video review is a pretty great tool, but using it can take momentum out of a game, affecting the players and coaching staff, as well as the fan experience.
The NHL recently implemented the possibility of video review for several things, including offsides calls (entering the offensive zone before the puck does). This was done after several blown calls where a player was in the zone well ahead of the puck and scored. In reality, the reviews were used for examining matters of centimeters and milliseconds difference, which have no real impact on the play and doesn't really fit the spirit of the rule. The reviews slowed the game down tremendously with lengthy breaks. And some super blown calls still got through.
I think the two biggest things for video review are figuring out for what situations it is needed and beneficial to making the correct call, and also figuring out the best way to seamlessly implement a video review system.
Soccer definitely has to balance those two as well. This World Cup heavily featured video assistant referee (VAR) and there weren't really that many hitches with it, but it's easy to foresee situations where there would be. Not all major competitions are adopting it yet though, so we'll be able to compare refereeing with or without VAR a bit.
I don't know if this counts but I was a soccer official for high school and adult leagues when I was in high school. The reason why it's a high paying job (20-25 bucks a game on average) is from the parents and coaches. Especially the parents, they have no clue what most advanced and even basic rules are (looking at you offsides) and scream at you from the sideline. This discourages young or new officials and is the reason why you can ref at almost any complex.
Not one currently, but I was a Canadian football official for a number of years.
High school games were the best. I miss doing them. Varsity leagues are good, too. Minor leagues are typically very good.
There are two seriously problematic classes of leagues you have to do which make it a pain, though:
So, emotionally, it was an experience of extremes. Some extremely good experiences, especially with teenagers, seeing them having fun but also excelling (developing very good skills and teamwork). I greatly valued my opportunity to officiate the games in a smooth and consistent manner so that they could show off their talents. The "big game" (homecoming, playoffs, etc.) high school games will stay with me the rest of my life: absolutely amazing to see all the high school players showing off their talents in front of big crowds and playing solid, clean, passionate football.
But then, extremely bad, when dealing with some parents and coaches.
Over time, I felt myself becoming less and less interested in putting up with the bad so that I could do the good.
Also not a sports official, but why the "you are blind" tag?
Yeah, just a little tongue-in-cheek. Apparently, tongue-in-cheek tags are unacceptable, since Deimos removed it, haha.
Probably a little different from what you intended, but I often help out as an arbiter (basically a referee/organizer) for my state's chess association. I only really fell into it because I was doing other work for the committee and got to know the people running it quite well, and they really badly needed the help to keep things going.
With that said, I can't really think of a convincing argument for why someone else should do it, and I think that's the main problem with getting new people as well. You spend anywhere from an evening to a whole 3-day weekend sitting in an office or wandering around a playing hall, having to deal with people who are naturally trying to push the boundaries or have become belligerent after taking a loss or getting into a worse position (occasionally to the point of "you wanna take this outside?"-level arguments). And if you should make a decision that the player even thinks is incorrect (let's not even mention an actual honest mistake) because they haven't actually read the Laws, all hell breaks loose and you get nothing but stress and frustration from the player - a while ago we even had to deal with one player's lawyer after we had enough of their shit and told them that verbally threatening other players would get them banned from future events. Chess tournaments don't make money as a rule, so there's no payment aside from a small stipend that normally is just enough to cover parking and lunch on the day. Players generally ignore those running the event, and visiting top players are no exception there either - it's like a UNIX command where if something isn't up to their standard they'll endlessly whinge about it, but if you do everything right or exceed expectations then the result is normally to get no response at all. Then there's bratty kids, entitled parents, cleaning the toilet block after someone decided to flush a whole role of paper at once, and all of the other things I'm sure I don't need to mention.
And to top it off, chess isn't something that you physically can't keep playing at a certain age like many sports - almost everyone who runs our events is a player who got roped in to helping out because without them things would completely fall apart at the seams and there would be no events for anyone. So every time I get stuck dealing with unnecessary drama, I can't help but thinking Fuck you. I gave up my long weekend to put on this event, and this is the thanks I get?
I'd rather just be playing.
Yeah, that's well put.