Referees know they’re the most hatedPublished 12:40am Sunday, March 18, 2012
Natchez’s Jim Allgood is one local official that has made his way through the review process and officiated at the highest level in MAIS in his officiating career that started in 1986.
Allgood said he has officiated in a total of eight state or overall tournaments for basketball and a couple of state tournaments in slow-pitch softball.
“The reward is awesome,” Allgood said.
Allgood started officiating in the mid-80s and worked softball, basketball and football games.
“It started with me wanting to still be a part of sports and helping out,” he said.
Allgood worked his way up the officiating ranks, and eventually became an assignment secretary himself.
Now Allgood is the head soccer coach of the ACCS soccer teams, and he said having the perspective of being an official helps him be a coach.
“In my opinion gyms and football fields and baseball fields would be a much better place if all the coaches were mandated to referee a sport before coaching on the sidelines,” Allgood said. “Most people don’t know what we go through as refs.”
Allgood said new referees should make sure they have the right intentions.
“A person first needs to have a passion for the sport,” he said. “They have to remember they are doing the job for the kids. If they are getting in it for the money, they are getting in for the wrong thing.”
Parnham, the Vidalia football and softball coach, said he did start officiating to earn a little extra cash, but soon after he started his reasons changed.
“It’s gotten to where it’s enjoyable,” Parnham said. “It’s not about the money, it’s about getting out there and seeing other kids from other schools play that I normally wouldn’t get to see.”
Parnham said it really hit him in his second season of officiating how much he was enjoying himself.
“I decided that this is fun,” he said. “It gets hectic at times when you get rivalry games going, but it’s exciting in that aspect too because you have a front-row seat to a good basketball game.”
Parnham recently finished his fifth year of officiating, and he said it took him a while to get used to refereeing the games.
“It was pretty difficult, because I had never done it before,” he said. “I knew basketball rules, because I’m a basketball fan. I like watching basketball, but it was kind of difficult to get the first year and get adjusted to it. I know I made a bunch of mistakes that first year, but it got easier as time went on. It’s just second nature now.”
Parnham has been on both sides of the official/coach relationship, and he said that experience helps him when he’s on the sidelines and when he wears his referee stripes.
“I have a different view point for officials,” he said. “I understand both roles now. I understand where the official is coming from and where the coach is coming from. When I ref I will take a little more from a coach, because I do know what it’s like to be coaching too.”
Parnham said he tries not to be too difficult on officials when he is coaching as well.
“I know it’s a tough job because I’ve had first-hand experience with it.”
Parnham said officiating is a constant learning process, and experience has helped him with technique, positioning and dealing with the crowds.
“You just do your best not to control the outcome of the ball game and let the players determine the outcome of the ball game.”
Parnham said being a referee has even changed the way he watches basketball.
“I just caught myself doing this the other day when I was watching LSU play and I was watching the technique the referees were using and how they make their calls,” Parnham said. “When you get more into it you start looking for little details.”
A large majority of MAIS officials have been officiating at least seven years and some have been at it for 25 years, and Fuqua said there is definitely a need for younger officials.
“I don’t have any young guys,” Fuqua said. “We need to get some younger guys into it.”
Anyone interested in taking on the challenges of high school officiating, and also reaping the rewards that referees like Allgood and Parnham enjoy can contact Fuqua or any other local assignment secretary to get started.
“All they have to do is come to the meetings, and we’ll go over everything and put you out there,” Fuqua said.