Lo­cal field hockey of­fi­ci­at­ing group seek­ing help

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

Area high school field hockey coaches will be­gin eval­u­at­ing tal­ent, fig­ur­ing out line­ups, and patch­ing holes cre­ated by grad­u­a­tion when try­outs be­gin Aug. 10.

But coaches won’t be the only group look­ing to fill voids this month.

Its ranks thinned by re­tire­ments, and in some cases in­jury, the North­ern Eastern Shore Field Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion is look­ing for of­fi­cials to ref­eree the ap­proach­ing sea­son.

“We’ve been strug­gling to keep what we have for this long,” said as­so­ci­a­tion as­signer Pat Mayer, who has ref­er­eed for over 40 years. “Ba­si­cally it’s at­tri­tion and we’ve worked it and there’s been no one to come on, to step in.

“It’s been low numbers all along be­cause no­body wants to be an official and have ev­ery­body — coaches, kids, par­ents — of­fi­ci­at­ing when they’re try­ing to do their game,” Mayer added. “I have lost of­fi­cials be­cause of the at­ti­tude of par­ents. Of­fi­cials have walked off the field at the end of a game and said, ‘I’m done. I can’t take this par­ents non­sense any­more.’”

That prob­lem has also im­pacted Mayer’s abil­ity to re­cruit new of­fi­cials.

“A lot of times when I will ap­proach some­body they say, ‘I’d rather coach than of­fi­ci­ate be­cause I don’t want to deal with the par­ents or the coaches,’” Mayer said. “That’s what I’m run­ning into a lot.

“You get kids who have played, they’ve got visual ex­pe­ri­ence, they’ve got field ex­pe­ri­ence, they know what the game’s about,” Mayer con­tin­ued. “And it used to be they didn’t ever have the time to get off from work, or some­thing like that. Some­times that still is an is­sue; some­body won’t let them out to go do this. But most of the time right now it’s like, ‘Hey man, I don’t want to deal with the grief. And some of them in terms of re­tire­ment, they’re pretty much de­cid­ing that’s why we’re go­ing, too. ‘We’ve had enough.’ And that’s aw­ful.”

While Mayer said there are now rules in place to con­trol par­ents who get out of hand dur­ing games, she said her and her peers would pre­fer not to go that route.

“We try very hard not to get the par­ents in­volved with penal­ties and stuff like that be­cause we don’t want to,” she said. “You want them there. But (some) seem to know more than you do no mat­ter where you stand on the field.”

Mayer said the as­so­ci­a­tion has of­fi­cials who are qual­i­fied to work high school var­sity games, but they pre­fer parks and rec games, or mid­dle school and ju­nior var­sity play.

“They won’t step up to var­sity for other rea­sons,” Mayer said. “Some of them coach, so the only thing they can do is parks and rec. So I’ve got maybe five peo­ple that it’s all they can do re­ally. And that’s all they’re will­ing to do.”

Two ref­er­ees nor­mally work a high school var­sity game. Ac­cord­ing

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