COVID CAUSES HEADACHES FOR ASSIGNORS
Michael Fitch, TASO Staff
I have always had a special respect and appreciation for our 150+ local chapter assignors, they are the heartbeat of TASO. Recently, one of our chapter assignors and members demonstrated the “above and beyond” attitude and actions that is vital for our assignors.
No doubt, you have experienced how the COVID pandemic has disrupted our normal routines. The way you have or will prepare for your officiating assignments are no exception. If you are a game/match assignor, your level of disruption is exponential as games and match schedules are canceled and rescheduled based on a team’s COVID cases, many times at the very last minute.
On a recent Sunday afternoon the head football coach at, well, let’s just refer to them as school X called TASO Football Amarillo Chapter Assignor Marcus Thornton to let him know that there would not be any football games at their school that week. Marcus confirmed, “so coach, no games at school X this week?”, which was confirmed by the coach. As all good assignors do, Marcus followed up in writing confirming that all games at school X were cancelled that week. All the games were cancelled in the chapter’s assigning system, which notifies the officials and the schools.
Fast forward to Friday night. Due to the number of game cancellations, the Amarillo Chapter was able to provide Crews of 7 for two schools that night. As Marcus and his crew were preparing for their game, he receives a call from the coach at school X.
Marcus: “Hi Coach”
Coach X: “Marcus, we have a game in 45 minutes and there are no officials here”.
Marcus: “Coach, you cancelled your games this week, remember our conversation?”
Coach X: “I only meant the sub‑varsity games, I’m sorry for your confusion”
Marcus: “Coach, I was not confused, I confirmed that you did not need any officials at school X this week at all, and you stated, “correct”. I even sent you a confirmation e‑mail on Sunday evening and the game assignment system also sent you cancellation notices”.
Coach X: “Yes, I remember but I assumed it was for sub‑varsity, so I didn’t read it. What can we do?”
Marcus: “Coach, we can have a crew for you in the morning (Saturday)”
Coach X: “Man, this team traveled more than 250 miles, one way, they are not going to come back tomorrow. Send me any one you can”.
Marcus: “Coach, we are fully assigned every week, the only officials not assigned are a couple of rookies. I can get you a crew after they finish their assigned game tonight, probably by 11:00 PM”.
Coach X: “Marcus, they are not going to wait, that would not get them back home until tomorrow morning”
Marcus: “Coach, I’ll call you back”
Marcus then called the two deep wing officials at a game 100 miles from school X, to get in their car and come to the game where Marcus was officiating to pick up him and another official. Marcus then called an official assigned to a 6‑Man game. The crew, consisting of Marcus, Esrael Silva, Kyle Glasscock, Ross Forney, and Rick Chaves, arrived at school X for an 8:30 PM kick‑off.
While this is an extraordinary situation, it is a great example of the commitment to serve the Texas high school student athletes that TASO members exhibit in all sports state‑wide. Thank you, Marcus, Esrael, Kyle, Ross, and Rick!!