The aura is immediately noticeable when your crew-mate enters the gymnasium, stadium or rink. It isn’t a pleasant aura, either. A bad day at the office couldn’t be cured or staved off by the drive to the athletic contest that is on the official’s schedule.
It could be a recipe for a disastrous officiating experience ahead.
“When an official, one of my crew-mates, walks through the door, I need their undivided attention,” says Tony Day, a three-sport official who resides in Hanover, Minnesota. “All of the other stuff needs to be put on a shelf or the back burner for a while.”
Strong communications, eye contact and being on the proverbial “same wavelength” are the hallmarks of a strong officiating crew entering any athletic contest. Oftentimes, a strong pregame conference serves as a lasso in bringing the crew together to ensure everyone is engaged and prepared to officiate at a high level.
The expectations of one another are established during the pregame and they are carried out during a contest. What are some of those expectations?
Expectations aren’t just wishful thinking for officiating partners. They are, well, expected.
“I need, and expect, the best efforts from my partners,” Day said. “Every game, and I don’t care if it is a kids’ game or for a high school state championship, I need a partner that is really locked in. The players deserve it, the fans deserve it, and the crew expects it, too.”
Tim Leighton is the communications coordinator of the Minnesota State High School League. He also is a member of the NFHS Officials Editorial Board and High School Today Committee.