Craig's OPL Notebook
Winter League - Week 7
Games: 316
Yellows: 131
Reds: 8
Mentored Games: 3
Positions to fill: 948
Unfilled positions: 49, or 94.9% total coverage


So, this is the highest total number of games we’ve ever done on a weekend. And the higher the game count

the more unfilled positions we have. It’s called lack of referees. We have had the same lament for years now

and it just isn’t going to get any better. We have a limited pool we draw from, mainly I think due to the size of

the population. The Oregon Referee Committee meets every year to discuss what can be done. We have more

classes, try to reach out to new referee’s to keep them interested and we end up with the same situation year

after year. I honestly do believe that it takes a special person to persist in this endeavor.


On to more fun things: Look… all of you, well most of you, know that it’s a different world out there on the

social media side of things. If a parent of spectator doesn’t like something they see, they snap a picture or video

tape it. I have gotten pictures of referee’s with no badge, socks down around their ankles, non authorized black

shorts and on and on and on. So here is fair warning, if I get a picture of you not dressed appropriately and we

identify you, I will send you a warning letter. You work for the OPL and USS as independent contractors, but

with stipulations concerning knowledge and attire. The second time around, you’d better be practicing your

burger flipping skills because that is what you will be doing!! Clear?


Here is a breakdown on the number of cautions for the week:


1 – game with 6 cautions

1 – game with 5 cautions

3 – games with 4 cautions

7 – games with 3 cautions

24 – games with 2 cautions

39 – games with 1 caution

185 – games with “0” cautions


Send Off’s:



2 – Serious Foul Play

2 – Irresponsible Behavior (coaches/staff only)

1 – Offensive, Insulting, Abusive Language

1 – Second Caution


Another note – This is the last weekend before we take a two week break. Enjoy your time off, rest up, get

healthy and then we will have four (4) more weeks of the OPL standard season before we break for summer



Risk Communication Part III:

Let’s continue on with the last part of this, Delivery!! The referees’ delivery can spark hostility just by the tone

of their voice or the volume they use. To get the most out of their communications referees must be in control

of their emotions at all times. Deliver verbal communication in a calm voice and be direct and non-punishing.

Yelling at a player puts them on the defensive, which makes positive communications even more difficult.


Timing is also essential if the referee wants to be heard and understood. Any conversation with a player

during the run of play will most likely be ignored because of the mental noise that was described earlier. A

good time to communicate is during a stoppage of play. If, at a stoppage of play, the referees find themselves

in an adversarial situation with the players, the best way to end it is to restart play quickly. This forces the

players to get back into the game and leave the referees alone. There may be a time when slowing the game 

down at a stoppage could help maintain control. At this time a verbal warning or a caution with some slow and

calming words will let the players catch their breath and calm down, before restarting again. Saying the right

thing at this time is crucial. Only use positive talk, be careful not to say something negative or give a player an

ultimatum from which there is no retreat on your part, because this could start a confrontation that could end

badly for you and the player.


All referees must be aware of the verbal abuse players, coaches and spectators are going to use to insult them

during and after a game. These comments are meant to make referees lose concentration, and to get them

upset. One of the principles of risk communication is anticipating ahead of time what questions will be asked or

what might be said. If the referee knows that these comments from players or coaches are not original and not

aimed at them personally, then they can better accept them for what they are, just a way to get the referee into

an argument. Verbal sparring with someone whose only goal is to make the referee look bad is not productive,

and will only lessen the creditability of the referee. The referee being right or wrong is not the issue in such



There are many that are foul and more abusive. All of these are said, at one time or another, to new and

experienced referees alike, because they are referees, not because of who they are personally. Many referees

hear too much, but listen too little. They think any comment from players is meant as an affront to their

refereeing ability. Referees are only human and make mistakes. When the referee makes a mistake they must

accept responsibility and not overreact to the players comments about those mistakes. There are times when

the referee is either allowing too much physical play or calling the game too tightly. At those times if the

referee is receptive to the players’ comments about how the game is being refereed, and not take offense to the

comments, they can adjust their refereeing to meet the players’ expectations.


Again, the key is to be prepared, and not be gamed into a conversation that makes the referee look

unprofessional. Remember, as a referee; “Anything you say can and will be used against you”. In many cases

after the game, the best last word could be no word at all. No comment will keep you from being misquoted or

saying something, in the heat of the moment, you wished you hadn’t said.


Hope you got something out of this series. Sometimes, being Director of Officials for the OPL, I feel like I’m

the head of a cemetery…lots of people underneath me but nobody’s listening!



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