In addition to Corbin Bass Fishing headed off to the national and world tournament, you will find the first look at the 2021 high school football schedules, college signings by Williamsburg’s Navaeh Warren and Mikkah Siler to play at The University of the Cumberlands, and a story about the process to become an official in the sports overseen by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
It is a story I have had on my mind for a while, and with a slow period in sports, it seems the appropriate time.
I have to admit to being conflicted when it comes to the officials.
As a Major League Baseball fan from the time I could remember walking under the turnstile to attend Cincinnati Reds games, there has been something magical about seeing the manager emerge from the dugout and get into a “discussion” with an umpire concerning a call.
I laugh at watching those who I consider the best in the business from Dave “Sparky” Andersen, to Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Earl Weaver and Don Zimmer.
Who can forget the Reds’ Lou Piniella tossing a base after a blown double play call?
I still think then New York Yankees Manager Billy Martin purposefully got ejected from game 4 of the 1976 World Series after the Reds had blown it wide open so he could beat the traffic.
Thanks to youtube, you can even hear some of the words exchanged where you used to just have to read lips or get the gist while watching on television or in person.
Umpires would stand toe-to-toe and hand it right back to the manager.
For some reason, I never had the same passion for arguing with officials in other sports. It just didn’t have the same appeal.
And when it comes to arguing with the high school officials, I have found myself more and more on the officials’ side.
Not that I don’t think they don’t miss a call. It does happen.
However, that official could be the person in the next cubical over, working the checkout lane at the grocery store, or doing some other day job.
I have heard some of the comments hurled at the officials from the fans. It can get ugly.
Yes, officials need to have thick skin. But fans need to cut them some slack. It isn’t a full-time job. They aren’t getting paid big bucks. And they don’t set out to unduly influence the outcome of the game.
In an interview with the KHSAA’s Butch Cope, he said the majority of the officials working the middle school, freshmen, junior varsity and varsity games are people who are trying to give back to game they may have played, or to help the community.
Officials make anywhere from $30 to $65 depending on the sport and the level.
And it isn’t like the person who signs up today to be a football official is going to be calling varsity playoff games this season.
Like professional officials, Cope said local officials start at the lower levels and work their way up.
The idea is for them to learn the game from the official’s point of view.
And that view is a lot different than what the average fans sees from the sideline or the stands.
Go stand down on the football field when you get a chance.
Then add 22 players running in different directions, and possibly right over you.
Could you still make 100 percent of the calls correctly on your one and only look?
Major League Baseball has four to six umpires on the field and still instituted instant replay.
In high school, you have two umpires working a baseball or softball game. And they don’t get to go to the film.
I have even volunteer umpired a Little League Baseball game years ago.
It is a whole different view.
The KHSAA regularly runs public service announcements on the radio about the need for more people to sign up to be officials.
The first step is to go online to www.khsaa.org and click on the “officials” link.
The KHSAA needs officials in football, cross country/track, soccer, volleyball, boys and girls’ basketball, wrestling, swimming, field hockey, baseball, and softball.