Tomorrow night in East Lansing is the 32nd annual Officials’ Awards & Alumni Banquet which honors the contributions of MHSAA registered officials to high school sports over 20, 30, 40, 45 and 50 years.
Singled out for special recognition will be the 2011 Vern L. Norris Award recipient, Robert Williams of Redford. See our news release of April 4, as well as this nice post on April 14 by The Detroit News’ Tom Markowski.
As we honor these dedicated veterans, we are reminded of the need to recruit their future replacements – young men and women who we will need to approach sports officiating with as much commitment and passion.
The largest hurdle we face in recruiting and retaining officials is the poor treatment they too often receive from the observers to the contests. The participants are usually fine, but those in the stands often misunderstand the rules and/or the difficulty of making the calls as action flashes by. They expect officials to start out perfect and then improve.
The absolutely most effective strategy for improving sports officiating is to treat young, learning officials with patience and encouragement so they can develop into mature, master officials everyone hopes to see at every contest. People like Bobby Williams.