Marcus Hill Mug

Marcus Hill, Staff Reporter 

Before I leave for any event, I always double check that I have the correct date. It’s about as standard as the “phone, wallet, keys” pat down I conduct before I depart anywhere. 

I confirm dates, especially for sporting events I'm covering, because I've made mistakes before — I arrive at the venue with my gear in tow only to see an empty field, stadium, pool, etc. 

Well, that happened Sept. 28 — I got to Sierra High School for a boys soccer contest between the Stallions and Falcon High School and, as I grabbed my backpack and walked toward the field, I saw a few people. However, I noticed none of them were wearing jerseys. And I didn't see “FALCON SCHOOL DISTRICT 49” on a bus in the parking lot. In fact, I only saw 10 or so cars. 

Congratulations, Marcus, you played yourself.

I doubled back to my car to see if I screwed up. But hey, I was right! The schedule still listed the game for 4 p.m. at Sierra. 

So, where the heck was everyone? After sending a few messages, I learned the contest was postponed due to a referee shortage. 

This happens all the time.  

In high school soccer, three officials work games — two side judges and a referee on the pitch. Worst case: The contest can go on with two side judges who have a stellar understanding of the game. This means Colorado High School Activities Association didn’t even have two bodies to spare.

Through the years, several football, basketball, soccer and other games have faced the same fate. And one of the reasons officiating numbers continue to dwindle is abuse from fans. I understand officials make errors but mistakes happen. 

But the ramifications can go beyond just missing a game. Every contest holds value, especially for recruiting purposes. These kids missed an opportunity to strut because no one was available to officiate. 

Well, we all probably know at least one Monday morning official who could toss their hat in the ring and solve this preventable issue...

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Marcus Hill is a staff reporter for Colorado Publishing House. He graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication.