Local field hockey officiating group seeking help
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