In most aspects of life, there is a right way and a wrong way. Such is the case when you turn back a game. Knowing the difference goes a long way in determining how you are perceived and in how the affected assigner will deal with you in the future.

While each assigner may have his or her own rules, the following tips will aid you as you travel the turn back trail.

Do it early

The more notice the assigner gets, the less heartburn you will cause. Injuries, illness, deaths of family members and similar events result in last-minute panic. But in cases when you have advance notice, get on the phone with the assigner as soon as possible.

Offer a replacement

Don’t simply hand the game over to another official without getting approval. The assigner may not wish to use your proffered replacement for any number of reasons.

Don’t lie

Honesty is a must in turnback situations. What seems like a harmless fib can prove damaging or fatal to your career.

Sometimes a better game is offered on the same date as an already accepted assignment. Only the most cold-hearted assigner would refuse to release an official from, say, a high school game if the opportunity to work a college game came up. But if the answer is no, get back to the college assigner and explain you are already committed. The college assigner will respect you for living up to your contracts.

What really grinds an assigner’s gears, though, is a parallel move. If you ask to be released from one high school varsity game to take another simply because it figures to be more competitive, pays better or is closer to home, don’t expect reverse cartwheels on the other end of the phone.

Pay it forward

If an assigner helps you out, return the favor. If you have an open date, let the assigner know you are available. That can be a godsend at a time when the schedule is especially heavy due to weather-related makeup games. Your phone call could make the assigner’s day, which helps you in the long run.

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