There’s always a lot of chatter in Ref groups on Facebook, at officiating clinics, at halftime/after games about how to recruit new officials. It seems like there are never enough of us! With more leagues cropping up all over the country it doesn’t seem like this is a problem that will be solved any time soon. Instead of posturing how we could attract other people to start refereeing, I’m going to reflect on what made me start. Post your story in the comments below; between us we should get a good idea of who and why people start joining Team Zebra.
It all started during Freshmeat – our Ref School coach, Davis, was given some time during one of our later sessions to go through the rules and some whistle techniques/hand signals. I’m a process-person. That is, I like to know the ins and outs of how things work and why, so learning the Rules was always going to be high on my list of things to do before I started playing games (and not just to pass the Rules Test!). I signed up to Ref School there and then.
For our league, Ref School means either showing up early to sessions during the week or forfeiting skating time in lieu of learning the Rules. It is a big commitment and most of us pick it up whilst coping with an injury. I was actually in training for Olympic trials for Taekwondo (that’s a whole other story, but I will say that due to some health complications I ended up not being able to try out) when I decided that I couldn’t risk injury and it would be better to learn the rules; it gave me a reason to show up to sessions and still be involved. We run Sleaze the Zebras Ref School and Davis takes us through the sessions updating to the new ruleset along the way.
This is the moment where I thank Davis for all of his help so far and for continually encouraging me to go to different leagues to ref scrimmages and games and to go to the WFTDA officiating clinic earlier this year in Manchester (more on that later). Honestly, this whole adventure wouldn’t have started without you so from the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU!
So I guess the things that made me want to be a ref were:
- Structured, regular, referee school sessions
- Constant encouragement
- Feeling ‘useful’ at practice and games
- Being a massive rule loving nerd
- A chance to work on my skating skills without pressure (self-inflicted or otherwise!)
What made you start? Post below!