1You learn how to better express yourself so others understand exactly what you mean 2You’re going to get yelled at. 3You’re going to spend more than you think on the uniform 4YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS 5During the offseason, you use vacation time to attend camps – and enjoy it. 6You become a better planner because you must prepare for traffic and weather to get changed in time for a pregame conference with your partner(s). 7On the weekends, you officiate a lot of games to learn, improve your skills and for the sheer joy of being part of the contest. 8Good shoes are important for foot, knee and back health. 9Though you may not like politics or networking, they come into play regardless. 10The semifinals are often more intense than the finals. 11You’ll learn to ignore (or handle) obnoxious fans. 12At some point, you come to understand that officiating is about the journey. Every game counts, so hold onto moments of joy. 13Breathe. It will get stressful but staying calm will lead to better resolutions. 14You learn how to defuse anger in others. 15Improve how you dress and respect for you grows. 16Long after you retire, you will wish you were still officiating. 17There will be partners you like, partners you hope you never work with again and partners you want beside you when all hell breaks loose. 18You learn to admit you’re wrong and move on quickly. 19Displaying confidence in your tone of voice and body posture goes a long way to preserving and promoting your credibility.
20YOU’RE GOING TO MISS CALLS — PROBABLY LOTS OF THEM. ALL OFFICIALS DID (AND STILL DO AT TIMES). THE BEST OFFICIALS LEARN FROM THOSE MOMENTS. 21YOU’LL REALIZE YOU DON’T ALWAYS GET THE BIG GAME, AND THAT’S OK.
22Officiating teaches you to become a better leader. 23Mastering the definitions in the rulebook is critical to understanding the rules. 24You improve your listening skills or perish. 25Get a mentor, and later in your career, be a mentor. 26You learn how to enforce rules judiciously. 27You figure out how to build a strong team. 28People look at you with respect when you walk out of the locker room if you carry yourself with the proper demeanor and attitude. 29You become a continuous learner out of necessity. 30You understand the importance of being a great partner. 31You will be evaluated. Those evaluations will help you develop. Most of the time. But not always. 32Some game administrators work really hard to take care of you and some simply see you as a necessary nuisance. 33Sometimes you have to ignore minor illnesses and injuries — and keep going. 34Putting bad things in the past will become the norm. Look through the windshield, not the rearview mirror. 35The action isn’t always where the ball (or the puck or whatever object being used) is. 36You’ll drive your spouse/significant other crazy with your officiating stories. 37YOU WILL SOMETIMES HAVE TO PESTER PEOPLE TO GET PAID. 38Assigners do play favorites. How to become one of those favorites is by having good availability, showing up on time, being dependable and developing a good reputation. 39You will find that proper hydration and nutrition matter. 40Fitness is critical — you need to be as physically capable in double overtime as you were for the opening play. 41Not every veteran is willing to help you. 42Wear the proper uniform for your level. What the pros wear isn’t necessarily what you should be wearing. 43You need to have uniforms and undergarments for all sorts of weather, and there are times you will have to pack all of them because conditions will change between the time you leave home and the time the game begins. 44You will actually learn the rules, rather than just thinking you know the rules. 45You start to watch college/pro games from an officiating perspective instead of just a fan’s perspective. 46There is no substitution for repetitions. Get out there and work every chance you get. 47See what you call; call what you see. 48Don’t let an injury linger without treatment; get it checked out early before it gets worse and ends your season. 49Advancement may come slower than you expect — but better a year too late than a year too soon. 50You learn to take care of your officiating gear because it’s not inexpensive. 51You will sit in the stands and mumble “you’re wrong” every time you hear another person in the stands yell at the officials because said fan does not know the rules. 52You won’t work varsity right away — and shouldn’t. 53YOU WILL FEEL GREAT WHEN YOU GET THE BIG CALL CORRECT!