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Do you have what it takes to be a Drake intramurals official?

Bosco is a senior English and secondary education double major and can be contacted at haley.bosco@drake.edu.

After some serious deliberation with my colleagues about the essence of my column, the most prominent request is to shed light on the arduous work of an intramurals official. I usually try to focus on the heart, sweat and tears of our athletes, but the insider dynamics of the program are too precious to pass up. With basketball playoffs heating up, always remember to thank your officials, as the following are qualities that each and every one has worked to achieve.

Tough skin

This attribute requires the experience of a few seasons before truly mastering it. There is a reason that a first-time, freshman official is not assigned to a competitive fraternity basketball game. When it comes to sportsmanship, I have seen examples of both athletic angels on the court and frightening comparisons to “Full Metal Jacket’s” Sergeant Hartman. We tell all our officials to never take an athlete’s aggravation personally, but we would love to take full responsibility for the sharp and resilient character the intramurals program eventually develops in its officials.

Rock-hard abs

We don’t actually check, but it’s perhaps a metaphor for the seasoned athleticism required in our officials. When you are playing hard on the field, the folks in black are running up and down the sidelines right alongside you. When your game is over and you’re grabbing some Hub North with your teammates, those same officials are working another game and possibly another after that. We are actually thinking of hosting a Drake intramurals marathon soon. Participants will be required to wear an official’s uniform and make spontaneous calls at each mile marker. Sponsorship will be provided from Axe and Gatorade, and winners will receive a T-shirt.

Skills

Most of you have one or two sports which you can claim to be your true calling. Our officials are required to go through one- to two-hour training sessions for each league including hands-on practice and situational learning. At times, our knowledge becomes jumbled, and we feel the need to do a coin toss for the start of a basketball game or ask if you would like to serve or receive for a soccer game. Our mental graphic organizers of the rules are plentiful and overflowing, but the wealth of knowledge helps us jump in to play any sport for fun in the event of a forfeit.

Quality time

Intramurals is a year-round program, and each sport has a unique time respective to the type of play it requires. Indoor sports typically take place after Drake classes are over for the day, and outdoor sports are mid-afternoon to evening due to sunlight. Some officials can bear to work a double when the leagues overlap, and the true soldiers are those who can endure the midnight madness of floor hockey. Nearing the end of my time with the column, I may consider releasing a few of the haunted field house stories I have heard and experienced through the endless nights in that gym.

A sense of humor

When a Duff player comes onto the basketball court riding a stick pony, it only helps to smile. A technical in good spirit is still a technical, but it makes a difficult, tiring game pass by much quicker. When someone comes to ask you if they are on Court 4 when there are only three courts, we appreciate your humor that I will just assume is intentional for your benefit. We often have leagues that include a team or two that looks like they signed up for the wrong sport. When the players have a good attitude and can tolerate their own inabilities, everyone has fun. When you find a way to blame the officials for tripping over yourself, we will probably just gossip about you in the supervisor meeting. Nevertheless, without a funny bone, our officials wouldn’t be the same.

Drake intramural officials are real people, too, and each one of them has been extraordinary this year in adapting to the competitive environments. So here’s to you, referees. Keep up the good work and don’t ever underestimate the power you have.

Until next time, please play by the rules.

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