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Tailing the Komets

Question for Tony and others

I always wanted to ask this of someone because I have a ton of respect for these folks. Why do you officiate games? Why put up with all the crap from fans, parents and such? It can't be because the money is that good, and I'm not sure I'll buy giving back to the game from 95 percent of the officials who say that. So why do it? There have to be less stressful and more enjoyable alternatives, right? It has to weigh on you at least a little that no matter what you do, there are always going to be people out there who hate you when they don't even know you. That can't be a very secure feeling.

Yes, it's 3:30 a.m. and I can't sleep so I ponder all the weird questions in the universe. Such as, why do they still call it dialing the phone?

Posted in: Komets


Komet Fan
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 6:36am

I have umpired high school baseball, high school softball, little league, softball, etc... off and on for 20 years. I enjoy it. No, it is not all for the money either. Right now, I do softball at $20.00 per game for 1 hour's work. Tell me where else you can make that kind of money doing something you enjoy on a part time basis? I don't know of another job like that. As long as you don't have "rabbit ears" and can handle a little abuse, it can be rewarding as well. Most players have respect for officials who hustle and give their best. It is the officials that don't hustle and have attitudes that cause problems for the most part.

Tony E
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 6:57am

Everyone has their reasons, Insanity...(just kidding. Some do it for the sole purpose of extra money, some do it for exercise, if you ask the guys I went to the tournament with last weekend, they do it as an excuse to get away from their wives.
For me, I started doing little league baseball and 10 year olds basketball when I was 15. It beat bagging groceries plus I got paid double what the baggers were making to be on a ball field or a court.
Well right out of high school I decided to go to a pro umpire school down in Florida and I also attended basketball softball and football camps and see if I could make a career out of it. By the time I was in my late 20's I was doing the 4 sports at the college level and at my short stature, that is as far as I am going to get and had to knock down some stereotype walls to get that far. (when you are 5'5 and they want guys 6'2 you have to work twice as hard to get noticed)
I enjoy the competition, the challenge, the fact that I get to go to a different place each day and my job will be different each day. I even enjoy the crowds. It is a cardinal rule to not talk to the crowd but I have broken it many times. Folks have a much harder time screaming at you if they make the connection that you are a real person. By the time I left Indiana I was on a first name basis with the regulars at C. City, Busco, Heritage and several of the other schools I worked at. I really enjoyed that interaction. It did cause some grief for my partners though because if they thought I blew a call I would hear some humored cat calls. When they blew a call, sometimes police in riot gear was needed for them ;-)
It takes alot of work to do this job well. I contact schools I have worked at and ask for tapes at the end of the season so I can review my performance.
The money isn't good unless you make it to the top. I sleep in my car when travelling from one college to another in order to save money. These guys in the UHL I would bet are pulling down roughly $200 a week plus a little for expenses. Certainly not enough to raise a family on or make a house payment.
The late John McSherry was one of my instructors at the umpire school. He told us "The only reason any of us have jobs is the folks playing and coaching the game are too stupid to make the decisions themselves. So we give them a helping hand and pat them on the head when they throw a tantrum" If any of you have spent any time at a typical CYO basketball game, listening to the fans and coaches quote rules that don't exist, you realize just how right he was.
The bottom line is, officiating, like any other job is what you make of it. For me it is a passion and I am grateful it keeps me from having to sit behind a desk. I look forward to the challenge each game brings and I take each situation as a learning experience.
I hope this long ramble makes some amount of sense.

Tony E
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 6:59am

Kometfan where do you do your softball? When I lived there I worked over at Turners but since I was USSSA and not ASA there wasn't much around. The $20 is the same up here.

Wed, 04/26/2006 - 7:10am

I do it because I love the game of baseball (umpire baseball games that is). The money is good anywhere from $25-30 for two hours of work but I'd do it anyways without much pay. I just love baseball and I like to be in control of things. You just have to stand up for yourself if someone wants to question your judgement. I've learned that the louder you are in vocalizing your calls (in baseball) the less crap you get because a coach will have a harder time arguing with you if you are athouritative.

This year I'll also do some inline reffing at the plex for some extra college money.

It's just fun to be involved in the games you love no matter what it is

(And it's cool to get paid too ;-) )

Tony E
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 7:26am

FRKRTJ you are right as far as being vocal on close calls. We learned at the academy that it is best to maintain a level of "quiet" on the obvious and then use vocals to sell the close calls. This gives the perception that you have strong confidence in yourself and the call that you have just made.
The hustle thing is a big part of it too. You can tell the guys who are just in it for the money because they don't move unless they have to. The problem is, a good offical is almost never noticed (which is the way it should be) and the guys who don't hustle get noticed for all the wrong reasons. So the perception out there is that all officials are blind, dumb and lazy when in fact only the first is true (and a job requirement ) lol.

Tony E
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 8:30am

I just got an email asking me why I don't do hockey. Truth is, I can't skate well enough. Playing goal did not allow much time for working on skating speed etc. Officials have to be some of the best skaters on the ice and that would NOT be me lol.

Wed, 04/26/2006 - 10:26am

Hustle is another thing. Although at this level most officials are noticed irregardless; Good or bad. Normally the good ones are praised and the bad ones are heckeled. Now when it comes to the higher levels like college and minors...your theroy works without question.

I can't even count how many times I've been stopped outside ballparks with fans and parents thanking me for being so vocal and actually seeming to care about my job.

Wed, 04/26/2006 - 10:43am

*BLAKE* ~ I have a special SONG request for LARRY tomorrow...lol. I want him to play MONY..MONY... So, we can yell .."hey hey whatya say....ROCKFORD SUCKS!!!!" Do you think he will play it? I would love to hear it in our HOUSE and I would love for it to be loud enough so the Rockford fans can hear it over the radio...

Wed, 04/26/2006 - 10:52am

I will yell with you Nanci....great request...

Wed, 04/26/2006 - 11:27am

Not a big fan of using Mony Mony. I would stay with Rock & Roll part II all the way! The "you suck" song is what this version of the Jungle responds too, let them keep their stupid song in Rockford.

Komet Fan
Wed, 04/26/2006 - 12:22pm

Tony, I do my games in Fort Wayne for the most part.

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 7:17am

Larry was supposed to play it after the first goal on Tuesday but forgot...

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 9:10am

Mike, I think Nanci wants Larry to play "Mony Mony" after the announcement of the goal (like they do in Rockford), and not use it as the actual goal song, since there is NO other goal song besides Rock & Roll Part II! :)

Great idea by the way, Nanci!! And while we're at it, let's do the "Tick-tick-tick-tick-BOOM!" LOL

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 9:50am

Is mocking the Rockford chant the general idea here? Well, it would be cool if the whole crowd knew what was going on. It would be cool if there were more people from Rockford in attendance to witness it. The players probably would not catch it or hear it. I think it will turn out to be a weak mock attempt and look rather silly, eh?

The soundbites that had pig references were awesome Tuesday. More, more! And I had goosebumps tossing shirts in the pregame during the "you suck" song. More, more!!

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 9:58am

Let's just keep the 'He shoots, he scores!' chant up. That seemed to get under Rockford's skin when I was there. Or even better...let's just win (nothing is more irritating than beating a team!)

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 10:06am

I agree with scoops. I think any attpemt to mock Rockford's goal song would go on deaf ears. Even though I'm opposed to it, the K's should stick with R&R part 2, as long as their ahead. I can see playing it when the other team is winning

Thu, 04/27/2006 - 10:23am

The Hey Song during the intro's with the tee-shirt toss really got it going for me. I can't remember the last time a pre-game intro was so great. Yeah they turn the lights off and they do the dissapearing ICY or something like that...but what happened Tuesday was briliant. It also got under Martinson's skin because he was quite pissed off that his guys couldn't get on the ice when they were ready because the tee-shirt guys were still out there.

Tony E
Thu, 04/27/2006 - 11:29am

I agree. Why would the Komets want to copy anything done by Rockford? They have enough people in place with their own brilliant ideas. They should be leaders, not copiers.

Back to the original topic here, with guys like Delmon Young running around throwing bats at umpires, it is no wonder not alot of folks want my job!

Hit Somebody!!!
Thu, 04/27/2006 - 1:35pm

Blake, another question to ponder when you are sleepless...Why do they call them Hemroids and not Asteroids? Enema man would know!!!