Photo Credit: Dale Garvey

Your bag is packed and you’re just about ready to head out for your game when the phone rings. A chicken pox outbreak at one of the schools has forced the team to postpone the game you’re supposed to officiate. Suddenly you have an unexpected night off. What do you do?

You might be able to take care of that yard work you’ve been neglecting. If your busy schedule has meant spending less time with your kids, spouse or significant other, dinner out might be just the right thing. Perhaps a project at work that would have been set aside can be completed on time or in advance.

There is no definitive answer to that question because everyone’s circumstances are different. But beyond the suggestions above, here are some other ideas that may result in a wise time investment.

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Call your assigner.

You may earn the eternal gratitude of your assigner by offering your services as a substitute. If another official was injured or otherwise unable to fulfill an assignment, your unexpected availability may be a godsend. Even if you wind up not working, your assigner will likely appreciate your offer.

Spoil yourself.

Depending on how many games you work and the time of the season in which the free night occurs, you may do yourself a huge favor by doing something fun that you wouldn’t normally have time to do. Take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or on the beach, take in a movie you’ve wanted to see, go for a long drive in the country or take a nap. Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best. Something as seemingly mundane as sitting in the park and watching the world go by can clear your mind and rejuvenate your spirit.


You likely spend a great deal of time reading officiating-related material — rulebooks, mechanics manuals, missives from your association or supervisor, etc. With all of that required reading going on, you probably don’t have a lot of time for or interest in reading for pleasure. Use the free time to read the newspaper rather than skim it. Go to the bookshelf and get a hold of that potboiler you got as a gift but haven’t even opened yet.

Indulge in one of your other hobbies.

Most officials have interests other than officiating. Whether it’s stamp collecting or woodworking, bird watching or photography, the time that would have been spent officiating can be devoted to another favorite activity.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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