WHAT THE BEST OFFICIALS KEEP DOING
You received the plum assignment, playoff game or bowl game you’ve always wanted. If your group has a scoring system, perhaps you graded out first at your position. You’re finally one of the best officials at your level. Congratulations! A lot of folks will never be able to say that.
Whether the topic is players, coaches or officials, there are several ways to go once you get to the pinnacle, whatever that is in the sport and at the level you’re working. You can become so impressed with your accomplishment that you begin thinking (and worse, acting) like you think you’re better than everyone else. Or you can become complacent, as if your mindset is that having gotten to the top, you can now afford to coast. Or, you can continue to do the big — and, even more important sometimes, little — things that got you there in the first place.
I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to have achieved some pinnacles. I’ve always known deep down inside that there are a lot of officials as capable as I am, and probably quite a few who are fundamentally better in many respects, but just never got the break they needed. My entire career has been break on top of break on top of break.
My good friend is also from Austin. He got his first CWS assignment in 1978, and while I was genuinely glad for him I also thought that it would probably be an eternity before the powers that‑be picked an Austinite again, so there went my chances to go to Omaha. Fortunately, I didn’t let my chin drag but instead kept plowing ahead and, sure enough, the lightning bolt hit me the very next year when I got picked for the CWS. How easy would it have been for me to slack off given my rock‑solid belief that with Randy’s selection, my Omaha chances had gone down the tubes?
I thought another group of people might react by watching my work more closely than before because they would now see me as a role model to emulate in the hope that they might get better — or just lucky — and that might get them to the pinnacle as well.
I hope that doesn’t sound cocky because I don’t mean it that way — I just think it’s true that a lot of aspiring officials watch the successful ones in the college and pro ranks and then try to add a lot of what those folks do to their own repertoire.