Girls’ lacrosse needs more officials
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