To The Herald-Whig:
Thank you, David Adam, on the article "Critical Shortage" on Aug. 10. The truth is that all sports in the high school ranks have a shortage.
Any sport needs officials, as many of them are getting old and are retiring. Some of them are just giving up because they do not want to put up with coaches and parents, and just fans in general. As an assignor for soccer, I have seen fans go crazy over calls that they had no idea of what the call was, right or wrong.
This year I had to tell a school we didn't have any officials available for its game. That was my first time, and I'm sure in the upcoming years it will happen more.
I attended the officials conference in East Peoria for the Illinois High School Association last year. The assistant director, Sam Knox, said that the IHSA has lost about 1,500 officials across the board over the past two or three years. With that type of loss, it doesn't take much to have a shortage in the officials' ranks.
Many people do not know what an official goes through to become an official. Background check, license for that sport, uniforms, equipment, shoes, time you do for clinics, time on your computer to do tests, rule clinics and the list goes on every year.
We don't get rich doing this. It's the love of that game or sport that we do it for.
If you are passionate about a sport, step up and give back to that sport. Just ask any official for contact information for that sport's assignor. He or she will get you that information, join a brotherhood that goes a long way in this world.
This was the way I got into officiating some 35 years ago coaching a youth team, and not liking the calls that were being made during the game. So, people, step up and enjoy that sport.