18Que Tucker NCHSAAThey don’t make the headlines, their names are not in the box scores, and they don’t make the allstar teams. But perhaps the most important individuals in high school sports are the contest officials.

In fact, there would be no organized competitive sports at the high school level without the men and women who officiate these games every day across the country. Subtract the dedicated people who officiate high school sports, and competitive sports would no longer be organized; they would be chaotic.

In some areas, high school officials are retiring faster than new licenses are being issued. And junior varsity, freshmen and middle school games are being postponed – or even cancelled – because there are not enough men and women to officiate them.

Anyone looking for a unique way to contribute to the local community should consider becoming a licensed high school official. For individuals who played sports in high school, officiating is a great way to stay close to the sport after their playing days have ended. Officiating also helps people stay in shape, expands their social and professional network and offers part-time work that is flexible, yet pays. In fact, officiating is a form of community service but with compensation.

Another benefit of officiating is that individuals become role models so that teenagers in the community can learn the life lessons that high school sports teach. Students learn to respect their opponents and the rules of the game and the importance of practicing good sportsmanship thanks, in part, to those men and women who officiate. And the objectivity and integrity that high school officials display is an example that every young person needs to observe firsthand.

In short, communities around the country are stronger because of the life lessons that high school officials help teach the next generation.

We need dedicated men and women to become involved so high school sports can continue to prosper for years to come.

Individuals interested in learning more about becoming a high school official, and those who are ready to begin the application process, can do so at www.HighSchoolOfficials.com.

Photo: Que Tucker

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