Monday, December 29, 2008

Week off

I had last week off from officiating and it was a much needed rest. I'll be back at it again soon enough.

It was a fun week for our children obviously because of Christmas.
The children have it easy today and it cracks me up. After Christmas was over my wife's sister went into the hospital the following day to have her baby. She had a beautiful baby girl pictured below early Saturday morning. Baby Payton
Okay okay, enough baby talk. I'm back at it again the day after New Year's officiating youth wrestling and then Jr. High the day after.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sunday Youth

Youth wrestling.

Let me tell you there is nothing like it. Some guys won't officiate it because it can get crazy.

At this particular tournament there are usually never any problems. It was at Mason Jr High School and they are awesome at running these events. John if you're reading this, YOU'RE THE MAN! You did a great job as usual!

There was over a 1000 kids from all over the state and neighboring states. The tournament is run efficient, the parents behave, John keeps everything in control, the kids are having a good time, we eat good, and we're not there all day.

It's unbelievable how good some of these young kids are and there technique is solid. I got to see some awesome wrestling. I had one kid that was plowing through everyone. He was really tough. But his last match of the day he ran into a buzz saw of another kid and had it taken to him. Wow! How can these youngsters be that good already! It's amazing.

When everything runs smooth the way it did, it's kind of fun to be a part of. I ran into old high friends, had some good conversations with fellow refs, and as stated before got to watch some good wrestling too.

Funny thing is, I'll be back at Mason for a couple more youth tournaments later. I have Moeller youth next weekend.

Toys, Soccer, and Basketball

My wife and I were trying to figure out where to take the kids Friday evening. Someone at work suggested we go to Johnny's toys in Northern Kentucky because they had a huge play area on top of all the toys.

So it sounded like a plan. Soon as I got off work I headed home, picked the family up, and we were off.

We had never been to this Johnny's Toys and let me say it is pretty cool for kids. We didn't have a lot of time since the play area closed at 8pm and the toy store closed at 9. Kael played for a while when we first got there and of course we couldn't leave without getting some toys. We were actually already done shopping for him and Ava, but what are the odds you can leave a huge toy store the week before Christmas and not get something? Exactly!

I joked with my wife on the way home and said kids got it made today. We drive 40 minutes away to another state for our kids to hangout for a little over an hour and pick up toys. Oh boy!

Saturday was the last soccer day for my son. He did very well considering he's only 1 and it's for 2 year olds.

The time went by so fast and before you knew it the kids were getting their hands stamped and getting their treats and it was time for us to go.

We're going to probably sign him up again but not until wrestling season is over.

A couple hours later, I had to go down the street and officiate little kids basketball. Sometimes this can be a nightmare because the parents are the rowdy ones. I was scheduled to do three games and once again everything went smooth for the most part.

The last game the coach was a little mouthy and was begging for calls that were definitely not there. His assistant came up to me and apologized later and told me I was doing a good job. In the end it was a great day overall.

Christmas Party

Last Thursday I had to turn down a few matches to officiate because of our company Christmas party.

Our department at work had to manage the evening and make sure everyone behaved so I knew it was going to be a long night.

For the most part the night went really smooth. The food was awesome and it seemed that everyone had a great time. My wife however didn't like it that I had to be gone and didn't get home until close to 11 since I'm already gone for officiating sometimes.

I got her an extra Christmas gift. Hopefully that helps. I'll be helping her later in the year a lot with her diaper cakes business.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wednesday Varsity Tri-Match Wrestling

After an exhausting three days of hardcore officiating from the previous week. I was back it again officiating a Varsity wrestling tri-match between Little Miami, Goshen, and Bellbrook.

Last year was the first time I officiated at Little Miami and they treated me real good. So naturally when they called again this year needing an official, I said of course.

Weigh-ins were at 5pm and wrestling began at 6pm. Before the match started I recognized a father from youth wrestling from previous years. Next thing I know, his son that was in youth is sitting next to him. Wow how the time flies! His son is now a freshman on the Goshen team and he looked pretty tough on that night.

We started off the night with Bellbrook vs Little Miami. Bellbrook forfeited 103-125. Tell you what. Bellbrook looked pretty tough. If they didn't forfeit so many weights they would give their opponents fits. The wrestlers they do have were sharp.

Goshen and Little Miami had some good wrestlers in their own right. In the end Little Miami came out on top of both duals.

After a long night I was ready to go home and get to bed because I had a long day ahead of me since I had to help manage our company's Christmas party the next evening after working all day.

The life of a ref continues.

Jr High Tourney

It's been an interesting past week for me. Last Saturday I reffed a Jr. High Wrestling Tournament at Mason.

I've officiated at this tournament every year since my rookie year. They always do a great job when running tournaments and they get done in a timely manner.

This was a dual tournament and it featured nine teams throughout the area and they were very competitive.

I had a first in this tournament. This was the first time I had to call a kid for stalling enough times to disqualify him. I did everything possible to not have to call it but he gave me no choice. Even his coaches were yelling for him to do something. Not a fun spot to be in but that's why we were the stripes.

After a good day of wrestling the final round came down to Loveland, Miamisburg, and Mason wrestling for the gold. There were four of us officials officiating on three mats so were alternating all day so we could get a break. The staff did a good job with the food in the hospitality room. What's funny is that official's appreciate the food as much as we appreciate an efficient run tournament.

Mason and Miamisburg both defeated Loveland in the round robin championships and so it came down to Mason vs Miamisburg for the title. I ended up officiated the dual and it was some good wrestling as usual. However the kids were a little tired after a long day of wrestling. In the end Mason ended up winning and hoisting the title. All three of those schools do a great job with their kids in the way they treat them and coach them.

Great job guys and keep up the great work!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Thursday Wrestling: Elder vs Moeller

Another night of top programs battling it out on the wrestling mat. Elder and Moeller are mega rivals in about every sport imaginable. A couple years ago this was the most intense and the most difficult match that I had officiated to date.

I arrived at Moeller a little before 4:30 p.m. since I had to officiate the freshman first. Wrestling started at 5:00 p.m. sharp. There was some decent matches and it got me loose for the Varsity to come.

Now I mentioned before that I did this match a couple years ago. Last year Dan Kuhlman (pictured above) officiated it. This year we got to do it together and he was there to assist me. It truly helps a ton when you have an official of his caliber that joins you to have your back. Dan has officiated in the State Tournament the past couple of years and is one of the top officials in our association. We've officiated together a few times for the GMC tournament. So I was very glad to have him with me.

With that said, it was time to wrestle!

We started off at 145 lbs and the Moeller kid ended up on top with a technical fall. A couple matches later there was a barn burner of a match at 160 lbs. One of those back and forth matches. There were some great scrambles in this match and I had to be patient before awarding points. During the match Dan tells me great job several times in getting the tough calls right. I let him know he is pumping me up. In the end Elder came out on top 6-5. I'm already sweating.

The 215 lb match featured the number one wrestler in the country in Elder's Orlando Scales. No disrespect intended but he made quick work of his opponent with a pin in the first period. He's such a good kid.

You gotta love the heavyweights. This made for an exciting match. The Elder kid hit a headlock near the endline to score a quick two. But it didn't hold as the Moeller kid ended up winning with a pin. At this point Moeller is ahead 26-9 in the team score.

Now we're back around to the little guys and Moeller has increased their lead. At 135 lbs Elder comes on top with a Decision.

The final dual score was 48-12 and both teams, wrestlers and coaches were total class as usual. Coach McCoy of Elder said they were young but I'm sure he will have them improving over the course of the year.

For the most part the match went smooth, think I only got booed once, and no injuries. That's what I call a good night.

I may see Moeller again possibly against St. Paris Graham. I'll be reffing with Dan again at the Fairfield Invitational in January.

It was an intense couple of days of wrestling and it's only the beginning.

Wednesday Wrestling

My oh my, it was an intense night of wrestling!

This past Wednesday night I was assigned the Varsity wrestling match Beavercreek at Fairfield.

I arrived at the school about 6:00 p.m. and watched some of the Freshman and Reserve matches. A friend of mine from high school is a rookie official and he was officiating for the first time on the Freshman match. After he finished we hit the locker room and I gave him some feedback on how he did.


Once the other official was finished officiating the Reserve match, he joined me as I went and spoke to the Varsity for a pre-meet conversation. I usually speak to the teams about how to line-up and some of the rule changes. Some other points of emphasis:

  • Explain to them that they need to try and focus when they line-up in the referee's position and do the proper sequence.
  • Mention that if they bring a wreslter up off of the mat, it is their responsibility to bring him back to the mat in control. Safety first!
  • Show an example of what I expect when running arm-bars and to keep them legal.
  • Talk about stalling and to wrestle aggressively and work the center of the mat.
  • Remind the wrestlers to keep their hands out of their opponent's face.
  • Talk about overtime.
  • Take any questions they may have.
Now it's time for me to stretch. I sure don't want to get hurt and want to be at my best. It's Star Bangled Banner time. Introductions. Captains to the center of the mat to decide who gets choice on odd and even matches.

Match Time!

The officials from the earlier matches had already drawn the weight class we were going to start at. Jerry (official assisting me) and I are ready to rock so 152 lbs let's go!

Now in all honesty I'm so focused on officiating to the best of my ability and I don't really try to remember everything. There are some moments that standout of course.

A few matches in and we're at the 189 weight class. It's 1-1 in the third period and the Beavercreek kid gives me no choice and I hit him with a stalling call and now it's 2-1 with 20 seconds left. He tries a last second takedown but ends up giving it up instead and loses 4-1.

A couple matches later it's the Heavyweights and they're both good wrestlers. I found out later that the Beavercreek kid is nationally ranked and he looked it too. He performed a textbook double leg high lifting takedown in the first period and ended up pinning his opponent. Very impressive.

Now we're at 125 lbs. and the Fairfield kid jumps out on top and seems to be on cruise control, but the next thing you know the Beavercreek storms back. These guys are making me work my tail off. The Beavercreek kid gives a valiant effort but comes up short and goes down 13-11.

Ok, I just mentioned how hard the 125s made me work. That was nothing compared to 135. This was one of the hardest matches I've ever officiated in all my years. For me this match basically featured Hercules vs Plastic Man. One kid seemed super strong and the other able to twist any and every way possible. Back and forth this match went. Unbelievable. There was about 20 seconds to go and the Fairfield kid is ahead 9-8. Just like that, the Beavercreek kid hits his second Peterson from the neutral position and hits it for a five point move to his back and time runs out. 13-9 Hercules. Fun and very difficult match to officiate.

Now where down to the last match and of the evening at 145 lbs and Beavercreek is winning on the team points 29-27. Whoa Nellie! The winner of this last match will win the dual for their team. If my memory serves me correct the Beavercreek kid gets a takedown and goes up 2-0. Then there is a reversal and Beavercreek runs out of bounds. So we got two for the reversal and one for technical violation so it's 3-2 Fairfield. Now on to the second period. Beavercreek gets called for locking hands and now it's 4-2. On the restart Beavercreek does an optional start. But instead of letting him go, he locks up a near cradle, cranks him to his back and that's all she wrote. I have a pin and the match is over. Beavercreek wins 35-27.

It was a very intense match and fun to be a part of. We hit the locker room and one of my peers came down and spoke to us. He gave us some good feedback and thought I was on point all night with my calls. That's always great when you can get constructive feedback from someone that is unbias and knows what it's like to be in that situation.

It was time to hit the showers and get home quick. I was really exhausted after a night like that. To be honest I usually will dream a lot about a match like that because it's so intense, exciting and a close result. However, the dream was replaced the following night because I had to officiate one of the biggest rivals in the city in Elder vs Moeller.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Saturday Wrestling

This past Saturday was my first tournament for the season to officiate.

Some decent wrestling to start the season off. I felt pretty good going into the day.

But I encountered some different things for the first time.

While officiating a heavyweight match, one of them had the absolute biggest ball of yuck coming out of his nose and he proceeded to wipe it with his hands. I yelled out for him to stop so he could wipe it off. As I went over to the table to get a paper towel he had the junk under his nose and on the side of his mouth. Funny thing is I officiated him again later on and he had it again.

Another strange thing was that one of the wrestlers took off with an anklet after their match. The PA announcer kept calling for him to bring it back to the table. Finally after about the fourth time, then announcer said "If you don't bring the anklet back it's gonna be a forfeit." I was officiating and heard this and thought you've gotta be kidding!

Boy oh boy is the season under way.

I have a busy week this week. I'll come back and post my experience officiating at Fairfield last night and Moeller tonight later on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wrestling-Week One

The 2008 wrestling season is under way and it started for me officiating a Varsity Tri-match at Lakota East high school this past Friday. East were joined by Princeton and LaSalle. There also was Reserve wrestling on a neighboring mat.

There was actually supposed to be three of us officials but a fourth showed up so he could get some work before his following big week. Dedication, you gotta love it!

Two of my fellow official's got to the school first and did the weigh-ins. Then we got started. I must say that I had some serious cobwebs to shake off. I found myself a little to quick a couple of times on calling takedowns. They were takedowns but I should have waited a little bit longer before making the call. As the night went on it felt like old times.

It's funny because no matter how much officiating I may have done during football season, I still gotta get the joints to cooperate when officiating wrestling.

It was not only the beginning of the season for myself but also the most important people for the sport, the wrestlers. They seemed to be glad to get back at it. I can tell the beginning of the season will be an adustment for a lot of them.

Because of the new rule pertaining to the Referee's starting position (the placing of the hand of the offensive wrestler on the belly of the defensive wrestler first followed by the other hand placed on the elbow) I had to give out a lot of Cautions. It's definitely the most I've ever given out in a day. I don't make the rules but I have to enforce them.

There were some good matches and I did have one overtime match. Everyone was behaved for the most part.

I did get questioned by the coaches on a couple of calls and I definitely understand why. They were all class and had valid reasons for the questioning. I've said it a gazillion times and I'll say it a gazillion more, 'There's nothing wrong with competitive disagreement, but there is no place for disrespectful disagreement.' As usual the coaches were fine. Despite how things may seem we don't have that many problems with coaches overall.

In the end it was a successful beginning to the season. I'm not even sure what teams ended up on top for the night since the Tri's were split up in half team duals (which I like that format a lot).

My wife actually showed up and took the pictures (Thanks hun!) and after the match was over I had to meet her at Children's Hospital in the emergency room because our infant daughter had to get tested for Whooping Cough. We'll find out this week about that. However our baby girl is doing fine. We pray over her all the time and appreciate any prayers you want to send our way.

You didn't know that refs like prayer too? I'm not talking about you praying for our eyes to open because you think we can't see anything when we're officiating. I'm talking about everyday life just like anybody else.

However you can pray for my eyes to be open because I don't want to miss any calls.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wrestling Season

It's time!

After a great Thanksgiving and a long weekend, it's time for wrestling. No more off season talk because it's in season.

I have a wrestling meeting tonight then I may do a few basketball games on Wednesday. Friday my season begins at Lakota East High School for a tri wrestling match. Thursday night I'll be fine tuning my mechanics and working on the things that seem little.

I'll give an overview later this week of what the night is like from start to finish for a wrestling match from an official's point of view.