Zebra Spotlight

 


FEATURED NOVEMBER 1, 2017

Josh Andreasen

When did you begin as a FLAG Flag Football ref, why did you decide to become a ref, and how did you learn about the league?
I started as a ref in Boston during the fall season of 2016, only a few days after moving back to Boston from Chicago (I grew up in Billerica). Ultimately, I decided to become a ref because the league fills up in less than 5 minutes and I was waitlisted! (UGH!) I knew I would never get pulled off of the waitlist since I wasn’t able to make it to the Skills Clinic. (I didn’t know that I was moving to Boston until a few days before the start of the season). So… since I knew I wanted to be part of the league in some fashion or another, I reached out to Kim and asked if she would be okay with me helping out as a ref. Prior to moving back to Boston, I played in the Chicago league for a few years and had met Lance through my husband, who is a national referee. Lance connected us to Kim and the rest is history.

What is the most rewarding part of being a ref for you?
Throwing as many flags as I can! Just kidding… I really don’t care to throw any flags, it’s more work than it looks. I really enjoy being able to meet everyone. I swear every week there is another player on the field that I have never seen before and I have made some incredible friends on an array of different teams simply by saying hello.

Tell us about the most memorable game/moment/call that you were involved in as a ref in the league?
Woof… I’ll be honest – if I remember your game it’s usually because things weren’t going well. Generally, if a game runs smoothly there isn’t much to remember. If I had to pick something, it would be the Hancocks vs. New York at Pride Bowl in Chicago. Somehow, they mixed up the ref crews and I was assigned this game to balance out the head ref who was from New York. (Generally, they try not to put home city refs on home city games). The head ref announced to the entire field that since he was from New York and I was from Boston, we were both biased. That, of course, was not the case. Nonetheless, it was a close game and New York had the ball and threw to a receiver near the end zone. The receiver jumped up in the air and his first foot came down on the line (it was really close) so I called it out of bounds. New York was not happy about the call and proceeded to yell that I was biased and that the New York ref should overturn my call. Out of nowhere, my Knight in shining armor (Kim Herrig) came over from the sideline. She said some nice words that I dare not repeat here. She shut down the irate New York player real quick. It was perfect timing on Kim’s part. Afterwards, the rest of the game ran smoothly. It was really nice to see that Kim had my back no matter what capacity she is serving in. I’ll never forget it.

Where do you live and with whom?
I live in my beautiful home in Woburn with my husband (Lee Townsend) and our animals. We pretty much run a zoo. We have 2 mini-dachshunds named Ramses and Isabel and 2 cats named Agnes and Albus.

Where did you grow up and go to school/college?
I grew up outside of Boston in Billerica. I started college at Emerson College right as the economy tanked. The College ended up not being able to afford my half tuition grant due to a lack of funds, so I decided it would make more financial sense for me to switch schools. I graduated from UMASS–Boston and shortly thereafter moved to Chicago.

What do you do for work?
I work as a financial analyst for a mid-size financial planning firm called Edelman (no relation to the Patriots player) Financial. I have been there for a little over 5 years and they are the reason I moved to Chicago and then back to Boston. My job is basically to find ways to save and make more money for my clients. My team manages about 200 million in assets for our clients.

What do you do for fun?
So, obviously I ref on the weekends for fun. I also recently got certified to referee high school games in the state and I have been working the chain crew at a bunch of those games lately. Aside from football, I really enjoy Broadway musicals. It’s not uncommon to catch Lee and I on showtunes Tuesday at D-Bar. I also love board games and often try to setup game nights to test out whatever new game we have found.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we may not already know.
I come from a large family and am the only boy. I have 5 sisters: 3 older and 2 younger. I grew up Mormon; hence, the large family. Oddly enough though, every single one of my cousins is male. Not sure how that happened…

Who would you say has made the most positive strides in the league during your time as a ref in terms of sportsmanship? Explain.
I’m not sure about strides… but I would say Tony Russo and it’s not just because he knows my name and doesn’t call me Lance or Lee like a lot of the league does. Tony has gone out of his way when I’ve been on his games to make sure calls are understood by not only his team but the opposing team as well. Tony also is very friendly when he thinks the refs might be missing something. Kindness works wonders. He also always returns flags to their respective players and doesn’t just throw them on the ground three yards away. (This is a pet peeve of mine… be decent guys and gals!) Overall, he is a great player to look to for how to keep your composure on and off of the field. Whether he is winning or losing, it’s hard to find him acting unsportsmanlike.

Here’s your chance to say whatever you’d like to all of those players you put up with year in and year out…the soap box is yours…
The referees are there to help and make your playing experience fun. If you have questions please ask. If you see something that you think we aren’t doing correctly, say something. We are all human.
You are all great! Thanks so much for opening your arms to Lee and I when we moved from Chicago. This was a big move for Lee (he had never lived anywhere outside the mid-west). I really love this league and love being a ref. If you don’t know me, I would love to meet you. On the field or at Blarney… come say hi!

Where is your favorite place in the world?
Hmmm… too many options. Currently I am in love with Montreal. I recently rediscovered how much fun it can be. It has a gayberhood like Chicago, it’s cheap as hell, the architecture is stunning, and it’s an escape from the political mess we have here in the U.S.

Tell us about growing up.
I grew up outside of Boston with my 5 sisters. We were all raised Mormon, although only a few still practice. My mother is British, so you’ll probably hear me call things weird names. If you want a good laugh, ask me what I call the remote control. Growing up, I was always the theater nerd. I was the guy who got the whole cafeteria singing Sweet Caroline on a random Monday. In addition to theater, I really loved film production and I ran a local access television show for over 4 years. My parents always raised me to help others and earn everything I get. (Growing up, I had never heard of this thing called an “allowance”!) I started working when I was 13 years old in British candy store and have been working ever since.

Two truths and a lie…. go!
I hate coffee and only drink tea;
I cannot handle spicy foods at all;
I have a weird obsession with owls.

If your friends could describe you using three words, what would they be?
Crappy, Ugly, Wench.

What is the one thing the league should know about you.
I’m not Lance… I know we have similar builds, but he is much more “seasoned” than I am. I’m not Lee… He’s my husband and he’s taller than me. I know we all look the same in stripes… but I am Josh. J.O.S.H.

 


FEATURED MARCH 22, 2017

Mike Clisham

When did you begin as a FLAG Flag Football ref, why did you decide to become a ref, and how did you learn about the league?
I began reffing in the fall of 2011. I initially learned about the league from Gary Staples. While imbibing at Fritz, he told me that I should talk with Dr. John Love if I was interested in becoming a referee. Dr. Love and I met, and apparently I came off as level-headed and sufficiently knowledgeable about football that Dr. Love said welcome to the league … proof that I should have considered an acting career after all. : )

What is the most rewarding part of being a ref for you?
This is an easy one to answer … all of you whiny queens are the reason why I come back. Truly, I love it all. The whining, the manic competiveness, the steel-trap like memory of some folks, like say Mike Stef (The League Shih Tzu) still reminding me of a call I made three years after it happened, the friendships, and, most importantly, the camaraderie both on and off the fields. I say it all the time but the Saturdays during the season, in both the spring and fall, are some of my favorite days of the year.

 Tell us about the most memorable game/moment/call that you were involved in as a ref in the league?
Hmmm, this is tough as there have been a number of great moments but I would have to say that the end of the 2014 Rosie Bowl, which was decided on a Hail Mary with just a play or two left, was the most memorable moment that comes to mind. I was in the backfield and after Matty Broderick almost ripped his own arm off throwing it (P.S. he never has been the same since that throw), I looked downfield and saw Tony Ardolino, who normally can’t catch a cold, leaping (okay, not really leaping) and catching a championship-winning touchdown. It was a great play that ended one of the best games I have been a part of. (Sorry, Danny!)

Where do you live and with whom?
For the last eight years, I have lived in Dorchester with my roommate Tom Welby and his daughter Dyllan (when she graces us with her presence … she is now almost 14 and we are way too boring for her on most weekends). They are both family to me and I am a truly lucky person to be a part of their lives.

Where did you grow up and go to school/college?
I grew up in Massachusetts first in Hanson and then in Duxbury. I went to college at George Washington University and when that didn’t work out, I came back home and eventually I earned my degree from Harvard University Extension School while working full-time.

What do you do for work?
I worked in security management for 20+ years, including the opening of the new Boston Garden and Harvard’s Longwood Campus. I also worked as an event supervisor at the Garden for more than a decade and I have more than one or two stories. Working at the Garden is also why the whiny queens don’t bother me – I have been called every name in the book, and you all are frankly amateurs when it comes to complaining. : )

I now work for a consulting firm in the operations department and I love it. I finally was able mute my phone at night after more than 20 years of being on call 24/7. Oh, and who knew people took holidays off; what a concept!

What do you do for fun?
I love history, to read, and to travel. I also play golf and last summer came out of softball retirement to pitch for my company team in the Hub League, where we won the championship. What’s more fun than playing softball with a bunch of hyper-competitive, athletic, type-A, 20-somethings … oh yeah, nothing.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we may not already know.
At 19, after having to leave school, I went to work for 18 months registering patients in the emergency room of the GWU Hospital. I saw an awful lot of things most 19 and 20 year olds never see and, although leaving school at the time seemed painful, working in the emergency room was an invaluable tool and helped me mature fast. I would not trade those 18 months for anything.

Who would you say has made the most positive strides in the league during your time as a ref in terms of sportsmanship? Explain.
The list is really so tiny, I mean like really, really, really, small, you might even say miniscule.

Seriously though, I think many players have made strides in this area, hopefully as they have seen us refs make strides to get better. One person that sticks out to me as having made huge strides in terms of sportsmanship, as demonstrated in an especially disappointing moment, is Sandro Frattura. He is retired from the league now, but his behavior at the end of a semi-final Super Fabulous Bowl game will always stand out to me. It was the last play of the game and Sandro threw an incomplete pass but I had thrown a flag for an illegal rush, so he had one more try for the win. He dropped back to pass, was pressured, scrambled, and threw the game-winning touchdown! At that moment, I thought to myself, “oh crap, this is going to be ugly,” as I threw my flag. Sandro had stepped over the line of scrimmage before he threw the pass and I was fully prepared for Sandro’s fierce competitiveness to come out full throttle. Instead, he looked over at me and said: “Damn, I was hoping you didn’t see that.” Under the circumstances it would not have been surprising for him to blame the ref for the way the game ended. It was an excellent example of maturity and sportsmanship and Sandro, at the time, had no idea how much it meant to me.

Here’s your chance to say whatever you’d like to all of those players you put up with year in and year out…the soap box is yours…
Most people who have witnessed me reffing probably expect me to respond with one of Clisham’s signature “explosions” but not today. I like to think that I give 100% in each game that I ref; I know I miss calls, but the calls that I miss are not from lack of effort. As refs, sometimes we just miss stuff.

What I want people to know is that I love this league and all the people involved in it and it is without a doubt the most enjoyable thing I have been involved in since I came out at a rather late age. Each and every one of you make these Saturdays among the best of the year and the Saturday after each season ends is a truly depressing day. I think to myself, “no one is gonna yell at me for ‘missing’ a call for months, damn it, can’t we play year round?” I truly hope that most of you have come to learn that my bark is much worse than my bite. I look forward to the start of another season in just a few weeks and I hope to see you all out there whining and complaining and, maybe once and a while, saying nice call (but don’t overdo it with the compliments, I don’t want to die from shock). : )

 


FEATURED MARCH 15, 2017

Lance Burage

When did you begin as a FLAG Flag Football ref, why did you decide to become a ref, and how did you learn about the league?
I fell in love with football as a young kid. I was born in Tuscaloosa, AL – which means I was stuck with the Alabama Crimson Tide, and my mom took me to my first Bama football game in 1984. From then on, I was hooked! I went to every Bama game during my college career there – except one that I skipped to see Carrot Top live in Birmingham!

The radio industry can be somewhat unstable, and I found myself “between jobs” in 2003 in Orlando, FL. I was pretty bored, and reached out to my local high school officials’ association and took classes to become a high school official. I officiated HS ball in three states – Florida, Alabama, and Georgia – 10 years total, eight as a line judge and two as a referee!

When I moved to Atlanta and discovered that there was a gay flag football league, I jumped at the chance to get involved. I officiated my first Gay Bowl in 2008 in Salt Lake City and was asked to be the head referee for the NGFFL by league co-founder Jim Buzinski. In 2013, my husband Brad & I moved to Baltimore, MD so I could work at my company’s WPOC, and we joined the DC league there. In 2014, my company launched 101.7 The Bull here in Boston, and asked me to come run it! I already knew about the FLAG Flag Football league, and was so excited for us to join such a great organization.

What is the most rewarding part of being a ref for you?
There’s nothing better than a GREAT football game!! And luckily, I get to be a part of a lot of those, despite my limited athletic abilities. For the most part, most players are very respectful to the officials.

Tell us about the most memorable game/moment/call that you were involved in as a ref in the league?
I’m gonna divert from the league to a moment during my high school football days for this one… because it is certainly the most memorable moment in my entire officiating career. It was one of my first games at the referee position and everything was going really well towards the end of the first half. With just a few seconds left until halftime, the visiting team lined up to kick a field goal.

Under high school football rules, if a try for point after a TD is blocked or is no good, it is dead immediately; if a field goal is blocked or no good, it is live and is treated just like a punt.

Well, the home team managed to block the long field goal, and one of the defensive linemen picked up the ball and started running towards the wide-open end zone – with no opponent anywhere near him. I still do not know why, but I blew my whistle LOUD and killed the play – maybe something in my brain thought it was a try or something. That poor kid, I robbed him of probably the only touchdown he ever would have scored in his entire high school football career. The worst part was that I let my crew talk me out of giving the home team an untimed down – and we looked up the rule in the locker room at halftime and I was right – they should have gotten one more play. UGH.

The crowd was booing and I heard one person shout, “Donate your check to charity!” as we walked under the bleachers.

I had to come back out and not only apologize to the coach AGAIN, but also tell him that he actually SHOULD have gotten an extra play before the end of the half; however, now there was nothing that we could do. It was a hard way to learn that a blocked field goal REMAINS LIVE!

Where do you live and with whom?
I live with my husband, Brad Uhlmann, who plays in the league as well. We have been together 13.5 years and have been married for 2.5.

Where did you grow up and go to school/college?
I was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, but claim a small town – Demopolis, AL (population 7,500) as my hometown. That’s where I went to school and got my start at a tiny little radio station.

What do you do for work?
I am the Program Director and on-air personality for 101.7 The Bull/Boston and 95.3 The Bull/Portsmouth, NH. I am also the Country Format Captain for the iHeartMedia Boston region, which includes our station Kix 100.9 in Springfield, MA.

What do you do for fun?
Brad & I love to travel. Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world. I also love to gamble and usually end up making it out to Vegas three or four times a year. We also love to take our border collie, Kona, hiking during the spring, summer, and fall. She’s a bundle of energy, so we feel accomplished when she comes home from a long hike off-leash and just sleeps for hours.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we may not already know.
I have quite an extensive coin collection – including every proof U.S. Mint set going all the way back to 1956! The oldest coin in my collection is a colonial Hibernia ½ pence from 1723.

I also once hit an 11-team football parlay. The gamblers out there will know what a feat THAT is!

Who would you say has made the most positive strides in the league during your time as a ref in terms of sportsmanship? Explain.
Well, I can’t really think of any that have gotten better – but I can think of a few that have gotten worse!! ;)

But seriously, I have mostly encountered good sportsmanship with the players in the league – but I haven’t been in Boston that long yet. Check back with me in a few years on this one!

Here’s your chance to say whatever you’d like to all of those players you put up with year in and year out…the soap box is yours…
Referees are basically in the business of delivering bad news. What a drag!

We are going to make mistakes. We are going to get calls wrong. They get them wrong in the NFL and college football ALL THE TIME – and NFL officials make ~$173,000/year + a pension plan paid for by the league. Plus, they have the benefit of instant replay to help them get it right. Have a little patience with us.

Kim has done a great job working with us on rules and mechanics training. We are “weekend warriors” and try our hardest to get every call right, but it’s simply not going to happen 100% of the time. All we can do is continue to try to get better every time we take the field. Just please remember – just like it is hard for you to play a perfect game (false starts, dropped passes, etc.), it is hard for us to officiate a perfect game.

 


FEATURED MARCH 9, 2017

Dave Green

When did you begin as a ref, why did you decide to be a FLAG Flag Football ref, and how did you learn about the league?
I donned the zebra stripes for the first time in the fall of 2014. In previous years, I had played in the fall softball league so that my limited skills in that sport wouldn’t get rusty over the offseason. Then one day, Jason Muth texted to ask if I had any interest in becoming a ref. I had known about the FLAG Flag Football League for a while and knew of its great reputation, so I figured why not try something new.

Mario Nimock paired me with Mike Clisham that first season, so I have them to thank/blame for making my first season a positive experience. Since then, I’ve traveled to the last two Gay Bowls and was part of the championship crew in the B Division last year in D.C.

What is the most rewarding part of being a ref for you (what keeps you coming back despite all the whiny queens you have to deal with on the field)?
Being part of both the Beantown Softball League and the FLAG Flag Football League, I have found great friends and a sense of family within the “gay community” after coming out in my mid-twenties. Also, I’m aware if I tried to play football, it would probably be an unmitigated disaster… so refereeing gives me a chance to be part of this amazing group while putting my knowledge of sports to use.

Finally, my calls are never personal; almost every week one of those “whiny queens” will complain about a call during a game, perhaps even using colorful language… only to apologize at the Blarney for his/her behavior. I know how competitive games can get, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. After all, it’s just recreational flag football.

Tell us about the most memorable game/moment/call that you were involved in as a ref in the league?
That had to be this past season, when the 4 Leaf Benders and the Teal-O-Saurus Wrecks engaged in a thrilling back-and-forth battle. With only 7 seconds left in the game and Teal trailing, there was enough time for one final play. I was standing at the back line of the end zone and was about 3 feet away when Marc Davino made an incredible catch to win the game, leaving his cleat marks in the soft ground less than an inch inside the line. It was hard to dispute the accuracy of that call.

Where do you live and with whom?
I live in Woburn with Dave Bruce. And I can corroborate what he said in the last ref spotlight: we definitely discuss good plays, interesting calls, and bitchy players after every week. ;)

Where did you grow up and go to school/college?
I grew up in Worcester, MA and then went to college at Princeton before coming back to Massachusetts.

What do you do for work?
I’m a producer for Comcast SportsNet in Burlington, so even when I’m not reffing, I’m still surrounded by sports almost all the time. I started working in TV in the summer of 2001, so my tenure has seen five Patriots championships, three for the Red Sox and one apiece for the Bruins and Celtics. Yes, I’ve been inside each of those locker rooms after games.

What do you do for fun?
In between the spring and fall football seasons, a lot of my time is taken up with the Beantown Softball League. I started playing in 2008 and started coaching in 2012. Along the way, I’ve traveled to NY, DC, Philly, New Orleans and Austin for tournaments, and plan on going to Portland for this year’s World Series later this year. I love trivia nights, so if you need some help to round out your team some night, let me know!

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we may not already know.
I was a competitive swimmer for a long time, spending hours and hours in the pool all year long, even training in Florida over the summers to get extra practice time in. Somehow that led classmates to vote me “Most Athletic” in my (admittedly small) senior class, despite the fact that I’m pretty uncoordinated when it comes to most “ball sports”. (Go ahead, make your jokes!) I even had a classmate who went on to play in the NBA for several seasons.

Who would you say (player) has made the most positive strides in the league during your time as a ref in terms of sportsmanship? Explain.
I’d say there are a lot of examples, but I’ll highlight Tim Daly. Why not? I remember very clearly a deep pass where the defensive player interfered with him and I threw my flag. Tim immediately pitched a fit on the field and started screaming, “where’s the flag?” In response, I calmly pointed down at the ground. (By the way, he’s not the only player who loudly complains about a lack of flags before looking to actually see if a flag has been thrown). Let’s just say that ever since that moment, the frequency of Tim’s complaints has greatly decreased.

Here’s your chance to say whatever you’d like to all of those players you put up with year in and year out…the soap box is yours…
I agree with what Dave Bruce said in the last zebra spotlight; as a group, the refs enjoy being out there every week just as much as you players do! We are the 23rd team and we try our best to get every single call right, even if the players don’t always think so. We’re all out there to have a good time, and the refs take our responsibility seriously. Also, keep in mind that being respectful will always be more effective than flying off the handle at every perceived blown call.

 


FEATURED MARCH 1, 2017

Dave Bruce

When did you join the league, why did you decide to be a FLAG Flag Football referee, and how did you learn about the league?
I have had the referee itch in me ever since elementary school. As a kid, I would consistently volunteer to umpire the recess kickball games. Ever since, I have umpired little league baseball, women’s softball, and reffed in other Boston-based flag football leagues.

Veteran Marc Davino introduced me to the FLAG Flag Football league way back in 2010. At the start of this season, it will be my 8th year as a referee. I also represented Boston twice at the national level, traveling as a referee to both San Diego and D.C. with the league’s three tournament teams.

What is the most rewarding part of being a ref for you (i.e. what keeps you coming back despite all the whiny queens you have to deal with every week)?
As an athlete myself, I know how important it is for sport leagues to have knowledgeable, dependable, and respectable officiating and what it meant to me that they take it seriously. Knowing that I, as a referee, am making an impact on the player experience keeps me focused on doing the best job that I can. Being a referee allows me to interact with players through the good plays and the bad. At the end of the day, we are all family and it is that atmosphere that I enjoy the most and that keeps me returning season after season.

Tell us about the most memorable game/moment/call that you were involved in as a ref in the league?
Picture it … a sunny day at Walsh Park … 2014 Rosie Bowl Championship. It was the final play of the game and White (“The Whitey Bulges”) needed a touchdown to win. They were lined up near their own end zone. I was working the sideline where all of the fans were gathered, loudly cheering on the two teams. Quarterback Matt Broderick stepped back to pass, and I started to head down the sideline to get in position for any potential play on my side of the field. I watched as Matt saw Tony Ardolino sprinting downfield and he threw a sharp pass towards him. Danny Tyrrell saw this and immediately ran towards Tony to break up the play. Tony jumped up into the air to make an impressive catch, just in front of Danny’s outstretched arm. Tony then turned and headed down my sideline. At this point, I was running full speed behind him, watching the sideline to make sure he remained inbounds. In the midst of all this, I knocked over several solo cups belonging to fans that were crowding the sideline trying to see the play. Tony barely was able to stay inbounds as he fell into the end zone, out running the rest of David Lopes’s Red Team who were pursuing him. As White joyously celebrated the win, I was left standing there wiping beer off of my face, only to open my eyes to a person I did not know coming up to me and handing me a beer. He expressed how great it was seeing the effort I had made to ensure Tony fairly scored the winning touchdown. It was a thrilling and perfect ending to a great game!

Where do you live and with whom?
I currently live in Woburn with my roommate and fellow referee, Dave Green. Yes, there’s plenty of ref talk in our house. ;)

Where did you grow up and go to school/college?
I was born in Lowell, MA and grew up in Billerica, MA. I went to Lyndon State College in Vermont, where I earned a degree in Meteorology and an Associates Degree in Reporting and Anchoring; thus, my weekly weather forecast Facebook post during the season.

What do you do for work?
I work as the CFO for the Billerica Boys & Girls Club.

What do you do for fun?
Besides forecasting the weather, I enjoy playing sports, traveling, cooking, and flying online with my flight simulator. I am hoping to one day obtain my pilot’s license.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we may not already know.
At the age of 16, I found out that I was born with a rare kidney disease – one that affects both kidneys and that would one day require a kidney transplant. That day came almost four years ago (four year anniversary of my transplant is this upcoming April 4th). Generously and bravely, my younger sister stepped up and told me if she was a match, she wanted to give me one of her kidneys. Luckily, it was meant to be and it turned out that she was nearly a perfect match (could not have been closer unless we were twins!) Because of her sacrifice, I am able to live a normal life. And unless technology and/or science advance to a point where an artificial kidney can be created, I will require another transplant in about 15-20 years.

Who would you say has made the most positive strides in the league during your time as a ref in terms of sportsmanship? Explain.  
Without a doubt, Kim Herrig. I started as a ref shortly after Kim did and back then, the head of referees was always a player from the league. When Kim took over as head ref, she made it a goal to enhance the credibility of our league’s referees. She also made it a point to emphasize that we, as refs, are a team (both on and off of the field) and that we should all support one another and work hard towards uniformity among our calls. As referees, we provide a service to the players and we are expected to treat players fairly and provide the best service to the league that we can. When Kim took over, she really stepped up and took on a lot of responsibility, assisting us all in becoming better referees. She also always made sure to remind us that we are a part of the larger community and I think that her mindset has rubbed off on many of the players, who go out of their way to make us feel included.

Here’s your chance to say whatever you’d like to all of those players whom you tolerate year in and year out … the soap box is yours …
As much as players may or may not believe it, we as referees love doing what we do! I really don’t look at it as tolerating the players but I guess if I were to offer one thing, as much as players expect all of the referees to know the rules and apply them correctly, I would challenge our players to do the same. A lot of my confrontations on the field are with players who eventually acknowledge that they really don’t know the rules. I’d imagine that it is difficult to argue the correctness of a call if you yourself don’t know them. I’d encourage anyone who wants to learn to volunteer as a ref – I think it provides players with a fresh perspective.

Overall, I enjoy refereeing, love this league, and always try to get better every year!