Notes from around the Human Experience…
HELP WANTED: We don’t usually talk about personal amusements here at your Daily Dose but today we are going to chat a little bit about sports officiating. For several years the number of people plying this honorable trade has been decreasing. Veteran officials are leaving when they still have good years left in them and only 20 percent of new officials make it to year three. Your neighborhood pimp has better retention rates.
Standard Internet Disclaimer: We’ve been officiating since 1991. The trade is responsible for some the best moments in our life.
Dry, Technical Matter: Now, part of the problem is there are more games that need officiating. One of the ways this country has changed is the day of the three-sport athlete is more or less gone. More and more kids play one sport year round and this means there more games. This is lamentable because each sport as different lessons to teach and the more sports a kid plays the more of these lessons he learns.
FunFact: And more officials specialize, too, preferring to focus one sport. We have been officiating since 1991 and we can think of three people who we have officiated three sports with. That’s it.
Back On Message: More games, however, is not the main reason. The main reason is officials get more crap than ever. It used to be that head coaches and fans only got worked up over the close ones but those days are long gone. Nowadays officials get more and more crap delivered from more and more people with more and more venom. Calls that used to only get a mild response, if any, are now immediately taken to DefCon 1. It makes for a tense environment and new officials subjected to this feel intimidated and resentful while veteran officials begin to wonder if they really need this.
Now Hear This: Parents should mellow out. Your kid is not the Living Miracle but merely another kid trying to learn the lessons a sport has to teach. Statistically speaking he has virtually zero chance at making a living as a professional athlete and while he has a slightly better chance of getting a college education paid for, the odds of this are high, too.
Now, that doesn’t mean your kid should throw up his hands and say screw it. Far from it. There is everything to be said for putting maximum effort into an endeavor, becoming the best you can at it and seeing where that takes you. But leave the officials alone. They are professional men and women delivering a professional service. You don’t yell at your mechanic and or doctor like that, so don’t yell at the officials.
The Bottom Line: Officials are at fault for this somewhat by tolerating it, but we can’t police everything. Coaches and parents must bear their share of the responsibility, too, because at some future date when their kids game is canceled because there is no one to officiate it they will only have to look in the mirror to find the reason why.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! English explorer and all-round gentleman Sir Walter Raleigh, is beheaded on this date in 1618. Raleigh had flourished, particularly as an explorer, under Queen Elizabeth I, who had knighted him in 1585, but Raleigh had never been in any great favor with King James I. About 20 minutes after ascending the throne in 1603 James I had Raleigh convicted of treason and Raleigh spent 13 years in prison. When he was paroled so he could explore Venezuela some more, there was an incident that peeved the Spanish, who requested Raleigh’s execution, a demand James I was more than happy to grant.
FunFact: Raleigh’s head was, of all things, embalmed and given to his wife. Legend has it that she kept in a velvet bag until her death 29 years later, when it was put in Raleigh’s tomb with the rest of his body.
Well, That Was Quick: Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, is executed at Auburn Prison in New York on this date in 1901.
Justice was swift back then. McKinley had been shot in Buffalo at the site of the Pan American Exposition, on September 5 and he died on the 14th and Czolgosz was convicted on September 24.
Broad, Historical Context: The building where McKinley was shot, the Temple of Music, was demolished with other exposition buildings once the exposition ended in November. A stone marker in a street median in a residential neighborhood marks the site, though the exact spot where McKinley was shot is not known for certain.
Not The Crime Of The Century: Three men steal some of the world’s most valuable gems from New York city’s American Museum of Natural History on this date in 1964. Among the gems stolen were the Star of India sapphire, the Delong Star Ruby and the Eagle Diamond. The theft was as easy as entering the museum through an open window and taking the gems. Only the Star of India had any security and that wasn’t working because the battery was dead.
Fly In The Ointment: Getting away with the theft was more problematic. The thieves were arrested a couple of days later and in the hopes of leniency they began singing like canaries and most of the gems were recovered in a Miami bus station locker.
Not all of them, though. The Delong Star Ruby had been used as collateral for a loan from the mob and would be recovered only after extensive negotiations with the mob resulted in its ransom. A New York Daily News reporter who had found himself involved had been dispatched to a phone booth in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He picked up the ringing phone and followed his instructions to turn around and reach up, where the ruby had been placed. After its authenticity had been verified, the ransom was released.
Quotebook: What we really need is the determination to work hard…It is very difficult to achieve anything if we follow the easy way. – The 14th Dali Lama
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Adlai Stevenson was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Today’s Stumper: Sir Walter Raleigh is given credit for establishing what American crop in England? – Answer next time!