Saturday, January 25, 2014

Officially done?

I started officiating high school sports in 2005. I got the idea in my head that I would like to be a wrestling official after my retirement from the military in 2004. So I went to a local kids wrestling tournament and asked one of the officials how to get started. He gave me a phone number and the next season I found myself on the mat wearing the stripes. I was so nervous and probably wasn't very good but I learned and by my second or third year I think I turned into a competent wrestling official.

Some of the other wrestling officials  suggested I try other sports. So my second year I started football and the third year I added baseball. I was now officiating High School sports year round. I threw myself into officiating. I learned, I studied, and I officiated at every level in all three sports. Little kids,Junior High, High School it didn't matter. I prided myself on not being a snob and taking every assignment. I officiated hundreds of games/matches. I was mentored in all three sports by some outstanding officials.

Then came the beginning of what might be the end. 3 years ago my mentor and baseball partner retired. That sort of took the wind out of my sails as far as baseball. The next year I only umpired 4 games and then this past season I took what is probably a permanent hiatus. Similarly I started cutting down in football. I quit doing youth football two years ago because the parents just pissed me off. I was tired of dealing with the stupid comments and poor sportsmanship. Last year I only did Varsity football because my work schedule didn't allow anything more. This year I had to resign from my Varsity football crew due to my school schedule and other responsibilities. So no football for me at all this season, although they have asked me to come back for next year.

Then there is wrestling my first and most favorite sport. Last year I probably cut my officiating dates in half and this year I just finished the last of only two dates this season. Once again this was due to my school and work schedule. I felt like I was on the verge of getting a post season assignment in wrestling 3 seasons ago. Now I will basically have to start over. If your name is not out there coaches don't nominate you.

So I have been setting myself up to quit officiating for a few years now. I really enjoy some aspects of officiating still, but some parts really irritate me. My original motivations for becoming an official no longer exist and my life has changed in the last 9 years. I have more job responsibilities than 9 years ago and a lot more other activities crowding my schedule. Maybe it is time to move on.

I am not totally out the door but it is wide open.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I just found out my friend Gerry "pronounced gary" passed away last October. Obviously we were not everyday bestest buddies but his passing saddens me deeply. I met Gerry when I was a Fleet Manager for a trucking company and he was one of the drivers I dispatched. Unlike most of the other drivers Gerry actually treated me decent and we had many conversations about his life in the military compared to mine. He had spent 3 years as a draftee in Vietnam era Germany and I had retired after 22 years of voluntary service. We also talked often about the other things Gerry had done in life. He had been a corporate manager, a writer and even done my job for a spell. When I quit dispatching trucks we quit talking daily but still kept in touch. He eventually retired and got a job driving day cabs back home in Virginia. Besides being a truck driver Gerry was also a musician. By also I mean he had played old time string music for years. I still remember the day he talked to me about the time off he needed to go back home to the mountains of Virginia because his band was going to play at a reception for The National Geographic in Washington DC. He gave me a copy of his CD for the "Boozy Creek String Band" which is still one of my favorite things to listen to. Gerry had been acquainted with John and June Cash among others but he never hit the big time, just playing his music for the enjoyment of it. I would like to share with you some of Gerry's music. RIP Friend