From the Sidelines


As football season is in full swing, I have noticed one thing in particular, and it has been happening over the last several seasons.  Being a former official, I am always intrigued by officials.  I watch how they work, their spotting of the ball, and especially how they handle tough situations.  Women are all over the sidelines now, and I couldn’t be happier!

ANYBODY with a love of sports, half a brain, and willing to give to students or pros, can become an official.  The women officials I have watched are pretty damn good and work as hard as their male counterparts to do the right things. The women have one advantage that I absolutely love, and think more women should take advantage of: they’re women!

Watch coaches on the sidelines when they hate a call.  If a man is there, it is let the dogs of hell out on them! But, and I love this for the game as much as anything, if it’s a woman, they are sooooo much kinder and gentler, and I think that is good! Women officials have brought back some civility to a violent and nasty game, just by being there.

This is absolutely no slight on their abilities, they are as good as anybody, but their presence has a more calming influence that was much needed. We need more of them, immediately!  It has taught young players how to respect and address officials, and that makes for a better game for all.  So ladies, if you love football, and want to participate, DO IT!

You will love it, I promise!  Officiating needs good people, and you can do it without anybody degrading you for your efforts.  Officials are officials, good and bad, it doesn’t matter male or female, you can and should become an official, in any sport by the way!  Check with your local association for more details.

A new phenomenon that is overtaking the NFL, in particular, is the fourth and short yardage “Tush Push”, made most famous by the Philadelphia Eagles who are the best at it. The “Tush Push” is when it is short yardage, the linemen group up, and the quarterback and the backs and sometimes tight ends get behind them at the snap and push, overpowering the other team.

It is effective and works most of the time.  It is legal now, but I have a feeling the NFL will do something about it in the future.  The funny thing is though, when I was officiating, that was not allowed, all grouped up or not. You were never allowed to help the runner advance.  As a matter of fact, the penalty was called “Helping the Runner”!  My, how things have changed!  We will see what happens with the “Tush Push” next year!

I was recently reading a story about the great Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summit.  Pat was one of the all-time greats, man or woman, at coaching basketball, and this one story hit home with me.  Pat said her son came home from tryouts one day, a basketball under each arm, and was crying, he told her he did not make the team.  Pat stated that the mother in her thought, ”how could any coach in Tennessee cut my son!?”

Then, she said the coach in her took over.  She asked him, “Did you work hard enough to make the team?”  Her son said, honestly, no, he did not.  Pat said, then you know what you have to do!  She then went on to explain her thoughts, and ask this question of every athlete in any sport:  “WILL YOU FIND A WAY, OR WILL YOU FIND AN EXCUSE?”

I love that! It is so simple, yet so true.  I have watched successful teams, and I have watched those who constantly struggle. What is the difference?  Most parents will say it is the coach, the administration, or something else.  But is it the athlete who is the problem?  When a young player hears it is not their fault, that does damage to them and the whole program.  There are millions of excuses, but finding a way to make it successful takes work, and is the athlete willing to put in the work?  Do they find a way, or find an excuse?  Huge difference.

Maybe it is time some teams look at themselves, and dedicate more time to finding a successful way, instead of excuses!  Just a learning moment thought from a great coach who knew her stuff, Pat Summit.

There you have it, a hodgepodge of stuff in my cranium that was trying to get out.  Was it worth reading?  I hope so!  That’s the way I see it…….from the sidelines.