July 2007 Issue of Referee Magazine

Right Words
Right Place
Right Time

 copyright 2003-2016
1308 Washington Street
Suite 200
Two Rivers, WI 54241
920-553-DDAY (3329)
E-mail
 

Voice Over & Video

Voiceover for Cirrus 9 Media, a Denver media company
Hear it here

Rogers Street Fishing Village

Wrote, produced, directed and voiced (with a lot of trickery) this commercial for Rogers Street Fishing Village and the 100th anniversary commemoration of the sinking of the famous Christmas Tree Ship in Lake Michigan.
Video production - Tom Shimanek of Comcast. Original music score - Debbie Rohr Mueller. Underwater video - Shipwreck Adventures of Two Rivers.

Lakefield Communications Commercial

Voiceover for Lakefield Communications commercial.

City of Two Rivers Promotional Video

Wrote and designed this 8-minute video, and also did the video storyboard and oversaw production. Mark Matthews Consulting did a great job on the video shoot and production.

United Way Raffle Commercial

Wrote and voiced this radio commercial for the United Way.

Santa Claus Interview

Wrote the scripts and hosted this live radio broadcast and this one

Capitol Civic Center - Manitowoc

Produced this 30-second commercial for the off-Broadway production of Godspell.

Rogers Street Fishing Village Museum

Wrote and produced this 60-second PSA.

Two Rivers Ice Cream Sundae Video

Wrote and helped produce this video
 

Wisconsin Emergency Management Association

Wrote and produced PSA collection for use by local Emergency Management agencies for National Preparedness Month

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited commercial for 100 Years of Broadway show

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited commercial for Melissa Manchester concert

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited regional 60-second commercial for Melissa Manchester and Hormonal Harmony concerts

Viking Arms Inn - Ludington, MI

Wrote and produced commercial for Viking Arms Inn of Ludington, MI for the Out 'n About in Manitowoc County radio program

1977 Aircheck!

 

 

Right Words
Right Place
Right Time

 copyright 2003-2016
1308 Washington Street
Suite 200
Two Rivers, WI 54241
920-553-DDAY (3329)
E-mail
 

Voice Over & Video

Voiceover for Cirrus 9 Media, a Denver media company
Hear it here

Rogers Street Fishing Village

Wrote, produced, directed and voiced (with a lot of trickery) this commercial for Rogers Street Fishing Village and the 100th anniversary commemoration of the sinking of the famous Christmas Tree Ship in Lake Michigan.
Video production - Tom Shimanek of Comcast. Original music score - Debbie Rohr Mueller. Underwater video - Shipwreck Adventures of Two Rivers.

Lakefield Communications Commercial

Voiceover for Lakefield Communications commercial.

City of Two Rivers Promotional Video

Wrote and designed this 8-minute video, and also did the video storyboard and oversaw production. Mark Matthews Consulting did a great job on the video shoot and production.

United Way Raffle Commercial

Wrote and voiced this radio commercial for the United Way.

Santa Claus Interview

Wrote the script for this live radio broadcast

Capitol Civic Center - Manitowoc

Produced this 30-second commercial for the off-Broadway production of Godspell.

Rogers Street Fishing Village Museum

Wrote and produced this 60-second PSA.

Two Rivers Ice Cream Sundae Video

Wrote and helped produce this video
 

Wisconsin Emergency Management Association

Wrote and produced PSA collection for use by local Emergency Management agencies for National Preparedness Month

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited commercial for 100 Years of Broadway show

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited commercial for Melissa Manchester concert

Capitol Civic Centre - Manitowoc

Produced and edited regional 60-second commercial for Melissa Manchester and Hormonal Harmony concerts

Viking Arms Inn - Ludington, MI

Wrote and produced commercial for Viking Arms Inn of Ludington, MI for the Out 'n About in Manitowoc County radio program

1977 Aircheck!

 

 

Right Words
Right Place
Right Time

 copyright 2003-2016
1308 Washington Street
Suite 200
Two Rivers, WI 54241
920-553-DDAY (3329)
E-mail
 

 

 

 

 

 

July 07 Issue of Referee Magazine

 

Authored by Doug Day for Referee Magazine, the #1 officiating source in the U.S. since 1976. Published by the National Association of Sports Officials.

 

      

‘Of All the Average Referees … I’m One of the Better Ones’

By Doug Day

Maybe you’ve never fully reached the limelight of a state tournament or championship game. Maybe you never will. Just because you haven’t gotten that big game doesn’t mean you’re not a great official. Success is measured by more than one game or one assignment. Officiating is a competitive industry in which longevity, impact and respect go a long way.

You’ve worked more than 10 years in your local association. You’ve scored well on tests and attended nearly all the clinics you could. Yet you’ve never gotten to work the big game. It’s always been someone else. Well, you’re not alone.

The winner of the 2006 Naismith Award as the best men’s college basketball official has never worked the NCAA Final Four. One of the umpires for the gold medal baseball game in the 1996 Olympics never called the College World Series. A 23-year NFL official never got on the field for the Super Bowl. A member of the Big 10 staff with more than 30 years of football experience has worked only one bowl game.

Even without reaching the big game or series, each of those officials will tell you he has found success in his respective career and that one game does not make or break a career. It is more about growth and achievements throughout one’s officiating lifetime.

Steve Welmer has the Naismith Award on his wall. That puts him in the company of the likes of Ted Valentine, Bob Donato, Ed Hightower, Don Rutledge, John Clougherty and Joe Forte. “Just to be on the same plaque with those guys is an honor that can never be taken from me,” he said.

Richard “Bullet” Alexander umpired college baseball for 29 years before retiring after the 2006 season. He fell just short of the College World Series three times. “Going to the Olympics was just the greatest feeling in the world,” he said. But it also made him wonder, “How come I can get to the Olympics but I can’t get to the College World Series?”

Neil Gereb was on the sideline for Super Bowl XXXI as the alternate umpire. He worked four Pro Bowls and was a regular on playoff crews, but he never worked on the field during the game. Still, he spent more than 20 years in the NFL, where a 10-year stay is considered successful. “It’s hard as heck to get in, but it’s even harder to stay in,” Gereb said. “If you got your 10-year ring, that was kind of the epitome. That means you made it.”

Hank Zaborniak, a college football official from Pickerington, Ohio, has officiated for 31 years with just three postseason assignments. “I couldn’t have asked for a better career,” says Zaborniak, who worked one first-round high school playoff game, an NAIA playoff game and one NCAA Division I bowl game. “I’m in the Big 10. I couldn’t ask for more.”

FALLING JUST SHORT

Gereb was slated for the Super Bowl in the mid-’90s until a fateful weekend in which he worked a Sunday game and then the Monday night game. “I got a couple of dings against me. That knocked me out of the Super Bowl,” said Gereb. “It was just a couple of calls they thought I should have made.”

The more you progress, the more likely it is that one or two calls will be enough to hold you back. On the other hand, it could be nothing. As Zaborniak says of the big games, “Somebody is going to get them and somebody isn’t.”

That’s something Zaborniak probably understands more than others. In his day job as assistant commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, one of his jobs is helping assign state tournament officials each year.

There are roughly 3,300 eligible officials in his state, and around 200 are ranked high enough to be selected for the state tournament. But only there is only room for 36. “You may not have any control over where you rank,” said Zaborniak, “but you have control over ‘Am I getting better? Am I seeing what I’m supposed to see? How am I dealing with these coaches? Am I able to help the kids?’

“I think you have to define success more along the lines of the relationships you’ve made, the growth you had, the opportunities you have.”

There are many referees who are good enough to do those games, according to Welmer. “It’s wrong to say, ‘I should be there and they shouldn’t.’ I’m very, very happy for the guys I’ve seen in those games,” said Welmer. “It’s not their fault that they’ve done something and been in the right place at the right time.”

Alexander believes that he was good enough to umpire at the College World Series, yet he doesn’t feel let down. “A lot of guys out there can umpire,” said Alexander. “I’m glad to see them get it, but I would have liked to have had it. I think they had too many ahead of me. But you know, life goes on.”

Welmer shares that philosophy. “All we officials can do is the best we can,” Welmer said. “Referees are terrible about worrying about things they don’t have any control over. I don’t have any control over my advancement in the NCAA tournament. The things I do have control over are making sure I do a good job for myself, my supervisor and for the players and coaches in the leagues I work. Am I disappointed? Sure.”

MOVING UP IS ONE MEASURE OF SUCCESS

Nobody starts officiating at the professional or major college level. The first grade school tournament, building a varsity schedule, reaching the playoffs — those are all examples of success officials achieve in their careers. It may not always be a move to a new league or higher level. Success also comes from gaining respect at your chosen sport.

Welmer, who lives in Bradenton, Fla., worked three Indiana high school state title games before moving up to the college ranks. He’s now on the staff of 10 different leagues, while most officials work in half that number of leagues.

As a result, he’s had one of the largest schedules of any Division I official every year since 1993 and has been to the NCAA tournament 22 consecutive years. In 2007, he worked only one tourney game — a first-round match-up between North Carolina and Eastern Kentucky.

He has also worked many conference tournaments and national TV games, a sign that some coaches and supervisors consider him among the best. “I must be doing something right. Of all the average referees in the United States, I’m one of the better ones,” he jokes.

Before moving to the NFL, Gereb was obviously doing something right at the college level as well. He was the top-ranked official in the Pac-10 four years in a row and was in the running for an assignment to the Rose Bowl before making the jump to the NFL.

“I don’t regret making that move. Getting up to Lambeau Field, some of the big games I’ve had throughout the years, it’s been fantastic,” said Gereb, who worked the umpire position from 1981 to 2002, then spent three seasons in the replay booth to end his 25-year stint with the NFL.

CALL IT LIKE THEY WANT YOU TO SEE IT

The more successful you are, the harder it is to find success as expectations and pressure increase. As you move up, evaluations are based more on the nuances of the game rather than officiating skills. Assigners become more like employers who demand a certain level of performance week in and week out. The leagues you work become customers in that they expect you to provide a high-quality product that meets their specifications.

Gereb, who lives in Los Angeles, attributes his lengthy NFL career to excellent judgment and understanding the NFL philosophy. “What you have to do in order to see what you’re supposed to see, to keep the game under control, do your job and make sure everyone is playing according to the rules,” said Gereb. The 30-40 hours a week of pregame preparation helped him stay among the best in the game.

Welmer still has a few years of working five or six nights a week, more than 100 games a year and flying about 200,000 miles a year — a task made much easier by his wife Linda, who is retired from Northwest Airlines.

Welmer calls games a little tighter than he used to because the NCAA wants it that way, but not as tight as many other officials. “I don’t think you can sit there and think every night, ‘What can I do to please the NCAA tonight?’

“You have to just go out and work your game, work it within the guidelines of what the NCAA wants called and then let the chips fall where they may,” he said.

OTHER WAYS OF LOOKING AT SUCCESS

Zaborniak points out that using the number of postseason assignments as a measuring stick will show most officials to be failures. “Have I been able to get better? Have I been able to help the game? Have I had fun? Have I met people? If you measure it in all those ways, then I think I’ve been darn successful,” he says.

Gereb measured his success by conscientiousness, work ethic, respect of his peers and the fact that as an umpire, there was only one fight in all his games — when Larry Lee of Detroit “cold cocked” his referee, Dick Jorgenson. “It’s having the respect of Howie Long, and (Mike) Singletary and all the different great linebackers and great people,” said Gereb. “It’s the linemen that I knew, like Clay Matthews, working with them and them having respect for you. Larry Lee and I, to this day, are great friends. That has a lot to do with how you feel about yourself on the field; if you do the job and you’re happy with yourself.”

Alexander worked on being consistent behind the plate and says a measure of his success was the confidence catchers had in him. Now that he’s retired, Alexander likes to teach consistency, whether at the umpire camp he used to run, or in talking to young umpires after watching a high school game near his home in Portsmouth, Va.

During the offseason, Welmer speaks at four or five clinics across the U.S. and Canada and finds time to help critique young officials.

Zaborniak still works junior high football and basketball games now and then, and he filled in for one high school varsity game last season. “I worked the Notre Dame-Southern Cal football game on a Saturday night. The following Thursday I was doing a junior high girls’ basketball doubleheader with my son. It helps keep it in perspective,” he said.

He has also officiated for Special Olympics in the past — “an especially rewarding experience” — and he likes to speak at clinics to help younger officials. “We have a real job ahead of us, getting young people interested in officiating,” said Zaborniak. “There are not a lot of good reasons to officiate for a lot people anymore, but we keep plugging away.”

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

One definition of success is the achievement of a goal. Goals must be based on things within your control, such as improving skills by attending clinics, adding value by mentoring or building respect through hard work.

Each individual will want different things from their career. Some strive for a D-I or professional career. Others are happy concentrating on high school, youth leagues or whichever level suits them. Few will work their sport’s ultimate game. With dedication, a commitment to constant improvement, and a love of the game, most will find their own definition of success and a way of achieving it.

Doug Day is a former reporter and corporate spokesperson who now runs a P.R. consulting firm in Two Rivers, Wis. He has officiated high school basketball and football for more than 25 years and is vice president of the Manitowoc County Sports Officials Association.

ODDS ARE AGAINST YOU

Here are the number of officials on staff in each major professional sport, how many work the final game/series of each season and how many on the current staff have yet to work in the final game or series:

Major League Baseball

2007 staff:                   70
World Series crew:        6
Never worked:            39

NFL

2006-07 staff:             120
Super Bowl crew:           7
Never worked:            76

NBA

2006-07 staff:               59
NBA Finals:                 12
Never worked:            43

NHL

2006-07 staff:               67
Stanley Cup:                  8
Never worked:            49

MLS

2007 staff:                   55
MLS Cup:                     3
Never worked:            42

The odds aren’t any better on the amateur level. Here are the numbers for a select group of amateur sports:

NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball

2006-07 officials:                                   900*
NCAA Tournament:                                96
Women’s Final Four:                                 9

NCAA Division I Baseball

2007 umpires:                           1,000-1,500*
NCAA Tournament:                                96
College World Series:                               8

Michigan High School Athletic Association

2006-07 officials:                               12,000*
Championship event assignments:             310


Copyright © 2006 Referee Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, please contact
editor@referee.com.