12 Days of Christmas (Wishlist)
As we wrap up a crazy 2021 year I wanted to just have a fun blog entry. So here are my 12 volleyball wishes for volleyball. (In no particular order)
1 – New Earaser ear plugs. I love these things. They allow you to hear people talking but block out the high-pitched whistles. I really should have started wearing ear protection years ago. I know I have hearing loss from all of the whistles. My biggest advice to new officials is start wearing ear protection right away.
2- More officials. We need more officials. Last season I officiated 6 nights/days a week every week of the season except for a Saturday I had to take off for a family wedding. I love officiating but I need a break at some point of the season. We are hurting in our officiating numbers. How do we fix this?
3- A better season for my partner/assigner. Many of you reading this know my officiating partner is our assigner. Last year SUCKED as far as assigning goes. COVID continued to mess things up and in combination with our low number of officials it made for the most difficult assigning year ever. I hope next year is better.
4- Patience from coaches. I don’t usually have issues with coaches. 99.9% of my interactions with coaches are positive. However, newer officials are not having the same experiences. I understand coaches can get frustrated with inexperienced officials. However, please realize due to our officials shortage, we sometimes have to put officials on matches they aren’t quite ready for. Please be patient and understanding. While they might not be seasoned enough they will be soon enough and we need to keep them in the game otherwise we won’t have enough officials to keep going forward.
5. Grateful officials. This goes hand in hand with number 4. Veteran officials may be asked to work games with newer officials to help mentor them. They may also be assigned games they feel are at a lower level than they are usually doing. Again, we are short officials and sometimes we just need to fill slots and help our assigner out. Don’t complain about assignments or the level of game you are working. Every game deserves good officials. That lower level game you are working may be the biggest game of someone’s life. Maybe it is the first time they play on varsity or the first their parents actually came to a game. Enjoy the moments you are a part of regardless of your perception of the importance of the match.
6. Parents and spectators who understand we are doing the best we can. As officials we do the best we can. We never go into a game looking to “stick it to a team.” Do we get every call correct? Not at all. If I miss 2-3 calls a match that is a great night for me. When you realize every touch of a volleyball there are 4-5 decisions that must be made that makes for over 1000 decisions each match. Spectators also have to realize that as officials we are human. Constantly yelling and complaining does not help your team get the next call. Often, it causes the opposite. It’s not intentional but it is the human factor. We also have different views from everyone else in the gym. I recently worked as a line judge at the state tournament and at the post game we discussed an antenna call I made. Four different officials saw the exact same play and were all paying attention and we had three different views on the call and we are on the court not up high in the stands nor do we have the benefit of a slow motion camera to help us with split-second decisions.
7. Good lunches at tournaments. This may seem silly but it makes all the different during those long tournaments. Sure concession coupons are appreciated. However, those “pot luck” lunches can make the second half of the day seem so much better. A good lunch can even determine which tournament is chosen when it comes down to which tournament of several an official has a choice in working on a Saturday.
8. Coaches who do not show the peace sign. As officials we know you want every double called on the other side yet you want us to let your team play. Also please know that, yes, we sometimes let doubles go because we let your setter get away with a deep set. I can call all those doubles you stand like the statue of liberty for but it may also not be good for your setter when I tighten up the game. I never try to show up a coach. Please do not do that to me by showing me the two finger salute.
9. To NOT be the last officials in the gym for every tournament next year. It’s not due to bad court management. It is due to the fact that every final match I had at a tournament this year went 3 (2 out of 3). Please let me get out of the gym at a decent time next year. PLEASE
10. Partners who show up for matches. This is the first time it has ever happened and I am blaming it on the confusion caused to the schedules by COVID. I had three matches where I had to scramble and call officials on my time outs and during warms ups to get someone to show up for the varsity match. Please, officials, check your contracts at the beginning of each week to know where you are supposed to be each day. If there is a double-booking let the assigner know right away.
11. New breakfast places. My officiating partner and I go to breakfast before each tournament. It helps us get ready for the day and lets us just talk and joke around before a long day. Those breakfasts are one of the reasons I love officiating high school volleyball so much. It’s the camaraderie. Working with someone you enjoy working with each weekend and most nights.
12. A Wisconsin National Championship. Enough said!
So these are my Christmas wishes. Some are somewhat serious. Some are just fun. I hope everyone has a great holiday season and we will all be blowing those high school whistles soon enough. What are your volleyball wishes?
12 Days of Christmas (Wishlist)
2 thoughts on “My Wishlist”
To go off with #9, the next teams are ready to start warmups as soon as last match has finished.
As my band directors always said, early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable. While this is not always achievable (heck I know I was running from work to a match and get stuck in traffic), this should be the standard, for teams and officials.
Thanks to all the advice and recommendations, I got pairs of ear protection for Christmas. I am very excited to use them in matches and not just when dealing with my kids sometimes, lol.