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Women Make the Calls on the Field, Court, Diamond

By Dana Massing/Erie Times-News on June 05, 2017 officials

From the Erie Times-News:

Love of lacrosse drives Amy Machinski to pull on a black-and-white-striped shirt a couple hundred times a year.

Wearing black bottoms and shoes and with a whistle, she ventures out onto lacrosse fields in the Erie and Pittsburgh areas to officiate at games for young girls to college women.

The number of females serving in an officiating role like Machinski often depends on the sport, the level and the gender of the players.

You won’t see a woman calling balls and strikes in a regular season major league baseball game, but the FIFA Women’s World Cup has female referees. Two women did begin working NBA games as referees in 1997. The NFL hired its first full-time female referee in 2015 and a female first umpired the U.S. Open men’s tennis final that same year.

While it might be great for girls to see women on TV signalling home runs, touchdowns, goals or baskets scored, Machinski believes that female officials at the youth and school level can have more of a positive effect on girls than a professional they see on television but never interact with.

She’s a former club lacrosse play who has been refereeing for four years and said she gets to know the girls and young women and sees them grow and develop. Some even come up and thank her at the end of a season.

“It’s a pretty powerful thing to have that,” she said.

Read more from the Erie Times-News.