Young football player in peewee

Every Game is Important to the Players

We’ve had the privilege of having former CSFOA officials who have worked NCAA National Championship games speak to our association. I’m going to sprinkle some of their golden nuggets throughout my “Ready for Play” posts.

Greg Burks was the R for the inaugural CFP national championship game between Ohio State and Oregon and now serves as the Coordinator of Football Officials for the Big 12 and Mountain West Conferences.

One of the first precepts Greg shared on August 24, 2021, was, “Don’t forget how important the game is to the players.”

Which Games Excite You?

When I get our crew’s varsity schedule, I immediately look for the big games, typically games in the higher classifications or between league rivals. Unfortunately, I’m almost dismissive of the lower-level games or the games I know will result in a blowout. I also don’t eagerly anticipate a Middle School game as I would a “Friday Night Lights” game.

Greg’s words reminded me of when I played sports as a youth, as early as 8 years old and into high school. I would look forward to my games all week and could almost think of nothing else on game day.

The Younger Kids Deserve our Focus and Attention Too

I’d like to challenge us as football officials to prepare for and officiate the lower-level games with as much energy as we would the higher-level games. The younger kids deserve our focus and attention to detail.

For many on the field, the game might be the highlight of their week, and the kids and coaches deserve our best. I wouldn’t dare daydream while working a Valor Christian vs Ralston Valley game, but I sometimes find myself losing focus during other “less important” games.

Lock and Load

I’m pretty sure it was Greg Burks who mentioned he would mentally think “lock and load” before each snap to remind himself to laser-focus on the pending action. That has helped me on numerous occasions when I find myself losing focus.