Girls’ lacrosse needs more of­fi­cials

Record Observer - - Sports -

There have been 35 cham­pi­onship games played in NCAA Divi­sion I women’s lacrosse. The Univer­sity of Mary­land has won 12 and been run­ner-up eight times. That’s a pow­er­house pro­gram and re­flects the state-of-the-game in this re­gion of the coun­try.

“What con­trib­uted to that per­for­mance?” asked Paul Gil­more, a re­tired na­tional of­fi­cial and cur­rent of­fi­cials’ trainer. “Great play­ers, great coaches, great par­ents and great of­fi­cials.” Great of­fi­cials? Of­fi­cials are a nec­es­sary part of the game for all sports be­ing played at a com­pet­i­tive level. “If you watch the of­fi­cials on those NCAA fi­nals, you are see­ing peo­ple who have de­voted a sig­nif­i­cant part of their lives to be­ing as good as they can be, and who are rec­og­nized by other of­fi­cials and coaches as the best in the game,” Gil­more said.

De­vel­op­ing those of­fi­cials is very im­por­tant. How­ever, you can’t de­velop of­fi­cials un­less you have peo­ple will­ing to step into that role. It’s a role that can be a thank­less, and one that re­quires train­ing and com­mit­ment. It’s also a role that con­trib­utes to an ex­cit­ing game and, for those with the right at­ti­tude and tem­per­a­ment, it’s a lot of fun.

“While it takes a long time to de­velop the skill set nec­es­sary to be on the field in cham­pi­onship matches,” Gil­more said. “it starts at the first step — de­cid­ing to be­come an of­fi­cial, tak­ing a train­ing class and, at its cul­mi­na­tion, step­ping on the field with a whis­tle in hand. Those folks you see in the NCAA cham­pi­onship started that way.”

On the East­ern Shore, girl’s lacrosse has a strong foothold in the school sys­tems. In the past, of­fi­cials from the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity worked lo­cal games as much as pos­si­ble. Fre­quently, of­fi­cials from the west­ern Shore came over to help. But there are not enough to go around and cover all the games. The to­tal num­ber of lo­cal of­fi­cials is quite small and sev­eral have reached a point in their ca­reers where they aren’t go­ing to be able to work games they have cov­ered in the past.

“OK, so we have to ad­mit that the knees don’t work as well as we’d like,” Gil­more said. “Or a bad back, which has taken me off the field for good.”

But there is a bright spot. Last Jan­uary, an

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