I write to you today to lift your spirits, and mine too. What we are collectively going through in sports officiating is so unfortunate. Yes, first and foremost comes our health and that of all of us in our communities, towns, cities and countries. That comes first.
We of course tend to focus on those things important to us and one of those is officiating. We love to do it. We feel terrific in lending our expertise to make the games what they are intended to be. We also engage in officiating because it provides both psychic and money income. We need both. Now, because of the cessation of games being played, we lose out on both of those. That is the hand we have been dealt.
The postponement or cancellation of virtually all sporting events over the next month or two reinforces the point that without games there are no refereeing opportunities. We are along for the ride on that score. Keep in mind that every school, school district, conference, league and club has had to cancel all of their events. Imagine the severe burden on each of them. Makes our burden a little easier to bear. Yes, we together share difficult times.
There is little we can do to replace the lost money income but at the same time there are things we can do to continue to benefit from the psychic income officiating gives us.
We can take the time off to study rules, mechanics and game administration. We can reach out to those in the officiating community to have remote impromptu meetings, just to keep in touch. Consider short conference calls with your crew or local members to chat about what is happening. Build that community bond stronger than it is today.
We can focus on our families and loved ones – giving them time that we just do not have during the hectic times of our active schedules. There are things we can do to make this time away from active refereeing still provide benefit to us and those around us.
This hiatus is also an ideal time to reach out to the media to give them insights on how the impact of the virus has impacted amateur sports officials. They are looking for things to report on and this would be an excellent topic for them.
As for us here at NASO, we continue to get to work every day serving our members. We have a customer service team without parallel. So many questions have arisen because of this crisis. We continue to answer them to the very best of our ability. Your NASO membership does not stop because your officiating has had to stop for a while. Referee magazine, your NASO newsletter, the insurance continues with no gaps, the advocacy on behalf of officials – especially in these very times – continues unabated. We are not letting up even though you have had to.
It could almost go without saying but I will say it anyway: sports officials are special because of their character, commitment and courage. Today, more than ever, we need those three strengths in full measure and our community is uniquely positioned to share those. We can continue to be role models in and out of our Industry. Our strengths will give others strength.
We want you to remain hopeful about your officiating. Times like these can test us. They are testing us. Yet, together, as a crew, we will come through this standing tall and ready for the next assignment. Keep believing. Stay safe. Tend to your health and those you love. If you need us for something, please reach out. We are here for you.