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yawetag

Other Sports to Officiate

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It has become clear to me that I might have to stop umpiring baseball. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a degenerative disc issue in my lower back. After suffering through my back "going out" on a yearly basis, I had it happen twice in a month in 2017. A trip to the doctor and some x-rays showed the issue.

I didn't umpire at all in 2018, as I was spending my time looking for a new part of the country to move. I didn't have any back issues.

When I returned this year, I was fine until my 5th or 6th game back. I was working the bases and as I started to jog from my position between 1B and 2B  to A, I felt my back tighten. It was a chilly day, so I thought it was a muscle issue and dealt with the tightness through the game. The moment I got home, the pain got worse and became obvious it was my old issue cropping up again.

Maybe I'm throwing a "correlation = causation" here, but it's becoming apparent that umpiring is not helping my back issues.

But, and to the point of this post, I don't want to stop officiating. I have zero experience in any other sport, so anything I go into will take some time for me to actually learn it and the officiating behind it. That excites me.

So, fellow umpires, what sport should I look into? It needs to be one that doesn't require a lot of running (I think that's the biggest issue with the back - the constant jarring on it). I have some ideas, but wanted to throw it out there before I put some bias in the results.

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Volleyball is great. No rainouts, quite a bit of walking, but no running. And, like everything else, they're also looking for more officials.

I've thought about pickup up wrestling as well, but I'm holding off on that for a bit.

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7 minutes ago, kylehutson said:

Volleyball is great. No rainouts, quite a bit of walking, but no running. And, like everything else, they're also looking for more officials.

I've thought about pickup up wrestling as well, but I'm holding off on that for a bit.

+1...i dont do it myself but Ive heard nothing but positives about volleyball...I know @Kevin_Kdoes volleyball here in Jersey. Im sure he could offer you some mroe insight

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Funny you both said that. I have already emailed the assigner in the area for volleyball. Waiting to hear back.

I know very little about the sport, though, so there will be a learning curve. But I don't doubt I can get educated by the fall, when the season starts. It also appears around here that the schools provide line judges, which means I'll probably be thrusted into the person at the net. That will be a fun shock my first time.

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I had an old umpire/referee try to get me to officiate track/field meets. You sit on a beach chair and record the measurements. He said every school assigned an "assistant" that did the leg work for you.

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2 hours ago, LMSANS said:

I had an old umpire/referee try to get me to officiate track/field meets. You sit on a beach chair and record the measurements. He said every school assigned an "assistant" that did the leg work for you.

Are you calling me old? :o

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Volleyball is a great sport to officiate. As mentioned, weather is never an issue. 

It does, however, take a lot of effort and perseverance to become a good official. In NJ, the training program lasts over two high school years. The first year is primarily classroom based instruction with some limited mechanics work. the second year requires 5 evaluations to be performed by fellow officials before any assignments start.  

Perhaps the best advice I can give about becoming a volleyball official is to find a very good official to be your mentor. That mentor can truly teach the the mechanics and protocols to you, rather than relying on classroom instruction that is spotty at best.

My biggest pet peeve with people who wear volleyball officials uniforms is that so many so that they used to be a (pick your sport) official, but they heard volleyball was a lot easier. For them it may be easier, but that's because they are so unaware of the nuances of the game and how the game ought to be officiated. 

Don't suck is something I cannot say to many of my partners because I know - and I suppose they also know - that it is likely they will.

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Thanks, Kevin - and everyone else who has given suggestions.

I don't want to walk away from the diamond, but I have to. But I can't step away from officiating - it's too fun and I love doing it. Plus, I'm still in the red for my 2019 expenses! :D

I see myself putting as much effort into learning the volleyball officiating craft as I have (and will continue to do) with baseball. However, without the experience of really being involved with the game (PE doesn't count - even if I spent the time getting spiked in my face), I know that I'll be ignorant to the nuances. Situational awareness in baseball can be a day-long class; I imagine the same can be said with volleyball (or any other sport). I'm certainly not coming in with a "holier than thou" attitude - but I'm also aware that I'll put a lot of time into learning the game before I ever step foot on the court (it's a court, right?).

I don't know that the training here is nearly that intense, but I should find out soon. Apparently, the assigner listed for this area has changed, so he forwarded my email to her. I hope to hear something soon so I can start delving into the books. Maybe I can ask her if there's another official who I can contact and start getting to know; it certainly helped with my umpiring, so can't hurt here, either.

Since you know so much, @Kevin_K, are you a volleyball official yourself? If so, apart from the rules and case book, are there any other resources I should look into? Websites, forums (preferably active), reference books? Once I start studying, I'll probably find some high school level games on YouTube and just watch to start understanding the flow of the game and what to expect. Also, how different are the rules across the different levels? One of my biggest complaints about baseball is how different the rule sets are.

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9 hours ago, yawetag said:

It has become clear to me that I might have to stop umpiring baseball. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a degenerative disc issue in my lower back. After suffering through my back "going out" on a yearly basis, I had it happen twice in a month in 2017. A trip to the doctor and some x-rays showed the issue.

I didn't umpire at all in 2018, as I was spending my time looking for a new part of the country to move. I didn't have any back issues.

When I returned this year, I was fine until my 5th or 6th game back. I was working the bases and as I started to jog from my position between 1B and 2B  to A, I felt my back tighten. It was a chilly day, so I thought it was a muscle issue and dealt with the tightness through the game. The moment I got home, the pain got worse and became obvious it was my old issue cropping up again.

Maybe I'm throwing a "correlation = causation" here, but it's becoming apparent that umpiring is not helping my back issues.

But, and to the point of this post, I don't want to stop officiating. I have zero experience in any other sport, so anything I go into will take some time for me to actually learn it and the officiating behind it. That excites me.

So, fellow umpires, what sport should I look into? It needs to be one that doesn't require a lot of running (I think that's the biggest issue with the back - the constant jarring on it). I have some ideas, but wanted to throw it out there before I put some bias in the results.

Take care of your back.  I dealt with a serious back issue from 1990 though Sep 2016 when I finally had surgery to fix it.   I found that my back did so much better when working the dish as I could actually bend and keep the discs apart.  It's still not 100% but much better.  I will be receiving a spinal cord stimulator implant on May 11 to help with pain in other areas of my back.  Hopefully it will be a success and I will be able to stop with the percocet.  Addiction sucks and I'm not looking forward to withdrawals but it beats the alternative.

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I too have degenerative disc disease, also a left knee replacement as well as a right knee in need of one soon.  I had honestly been considering (officiating) swimming as a winter activity.  It's indoors, probably closer to 85-90 degrees, you get some walking in.  I talked to an official I met and he said the "upside" is that he can pick up meets on the weekends during the summer as well, with "age group" meets, but those days can be a little longer.

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I do officiate collegiate track and field as well. I don't even really consider it officiating as much as "getting paid a small amount to go watch some really good athletes".

For my day job, I work for a D1 Power-5 college. Every year, they send out a notice that they're looking for T&F officials. I had to join the national association ($30/year) and pass a background check ($20 maybe?), they provide all training and the required apparel (aka "a shirt"). I had to pass an open-book no-time-limit test, with no tricky questions (and since there's nothing urgent, they have rulebooks on-site in case there are any questions, and you just look it up on the spot). Pay is low ($75/day) but lunch (and sometimes breakfast) is included. But the indoor season is during the winter months when baseball hasn't started yet, and I get to see some world-class athletes do their thing - even a few olympians.

I've never once been yelled at, or, for that matter, even quietly criticized. Interesting thing about T&F is that everybody is rooting for everybody else. Sure, everyone wants to win, but they also want their opponents to set a PR and do well. It's kind of surreal.

I have no idea if my experience is typical of elsewhere, so YMMV.

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2 hours ago, kylehutson said:

I do officiate collegiate track and field as well. I don't even really consider it officiating as much as "getting paid a small amount to go watch some really good athletes".

For my day job, I work for a D1 Power-5 college. Every year, they send out a notice that they're looking for T&F officials. I had to join the national association ($30/year) and pass a background check ($20 maybe?), they provide all training and the required apparel (aka "a shirt"). I had to pass an open-book no-time-limit test, with no tricky questions (and since there's nothing urgent, they have rulebooks on-site in case there are any questions, and you just look it up on the spot). Pay is low ($75/day) but lunch (and sometimes breakfast) is included. But the indoor season is during the winter months when baseball hasn't started yet, and I get to see some world-class athletes do their thing - even a few olympians.

I've never once been yelled at, or, for that matter, even quietly criticized. Interesting thing about T&F is that everybody is rooting for everybody else. Sure, everyone wants to win, but they also want their opponents to set a PR and do well. It's kind of surreal.

I have no idea if my experience is typical of elsewhere, so YMMV.

Did you work the Kansas Relays this past weekend?

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10 hours ago, umpstu said:

Did you work the Kansas Relays this past weekend?

I didn't.

But some of the people I work with frequently did, I'm sure.

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If I was going to officiate another sport, it would definitely be swimming. My youngest son swam for 2 years in HS, so I saw first hand how it was. It's very low stress, pays better than baseball (what doesn't?), and no grief from anyone. All you basically do is start the races, and make sure no one leaves early. I only saw a few DQ's in 2 years.

I think the biggest difference in swimming and other "timed" sports, is that you are competing against the clock, and the times don't lie and cannot be manipulated. Everyone knew who the fastest swimmers were. Either your times were good or they weren't. Also, swimmers can compete in up to 4 races per meet, so everyone gets more than enough swim time. No riding the pine for anybody.

I never saw anything but great sportsmanship among the swimmers and parents. It really exemplified what I think HS sports should be.

As a side note, my son played 4 seasons of water polo, 2 seasons of baseball, and 2 seasons of swimming in HS. He gave up baseball for swimming his Jr and Sr years and wishes he would have just swam all 4 years and didn't mess with baseball. Had a much better experience in the water.

 

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Whatever you find to pursue, may I suggest that your baseball expertise would be welcome at a local youth league which runs its own officials (volunteer or otherwise)?  One of the best years I ever had as a Little League UIC was one when one of my veterans was on the IL, and volunteered her time evaluating my junior umpires and offering them advice post-game.  I think, as an evaluator or instructor, you might have something to offer and keep your hand in baseball as well.

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With a little googling, I will echo the volleyball and swimming that have been mentioned. Not only do you have National Federation and NCAA for both men and women in these events, but there is also a massive "USA Volleyball" program for each sport, andyou could get some outside your state events if you like to travel a little bit.

I found a volleyball USA National Official that is 77 years old and still working the "USA Volleyball" and "D1".

And of course there is also Tennis, if that would trick your trigger and there are a lot of tournaments in your area, and region.

 

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8 hours ago, stevis said:

Whatever you find to pursue, may I suggest that your baseball expertise would be welcome at a local youth league which runs its own officials (volunteer or otherwise)?  One of the best years I ever had as a Little League UIC was one when one of my veterans was on the IL, and volunteered her time evaluating my junior umpires and offering them advice post-game.  I think, as an evaluator or instructor, you might have something to offer and keep your hand in baseball as well.

Thought about this as well. I'd love to stay with my current association to do this, but I don't think I've been here long enough to make a case for it (as in, they don't know my abilities).

I could look around for local leagues to help with that. Don't know why I didn't think of that.

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