Friday Night Stripes

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Summary

A bonus episode portraying my thoughts regarding current incidents in Des Moines and West Memphis

Show Notes

Report from Des Moines news station on incident
Report from West Memphis news station on incident

Transcript of my letter to Des Moines School Board

To the Superintendent and School Board of Des Moines Public Schools:

Before I begin, I want to express my concern and hope that both players involved in the hit in question are healthy and have no lingering effects.

The statement reported by Channel 13 as being released by your district regarding the incident involving <name here> during the <name here> game was disappointing. Calling for the referee to take responsibility for a missed call puts priorities on the wrong things. There was only one party who acted irresponsibly in this incident and it was <name here>. His actions were handled within the rules of the game. I personally did not feel there was a need to resign or have any charges brought against him, unless he threatened any official.

As an official myself, I know I do not call perfect games. I know very few of us profess to have ever called a perfect game. However, that in no way excuses your stance that the referee take responsibility for not throwing a flag. I believe you are aware that flags are simply markers for fouls. They do not mend broken limbs, clear the minds of concussions, nor do anything else but penalize something that is against the rules. Whether there was a flag was immaterial to the health of the player. 

In this age of instant replay for higher levels of football, every play that every football official makes is under scrutiny. A large percentage of us use that film to improve and see things we can do better. However, it is irresponsible of anyone to know what the referee should or should not have seen based on the two video angles I've seen so far. Neither was from the referee's point of view so you do not know what angle he saw the hit from. Your response shows a lack of perspective. It sounds as if it were written by a fan instead of a responsible adult charged with leading young minds by example.

I'm not going to regale you with stories and quotes regarding the shortage of officials in all sports at all youth levels. I'm sure you've heard enough of that from others. However, your lack of leadership in response to this incident may play a large part in a decline from officials in your area as they do not feel the district supports them and is looking to blame them for things they do not control.

Review whether you think <name here> did her job in representing your thoughts and feelings on the matter in her role as the Communications Officer.

Do better. Lead by your example so that we can show future officials that school boards understand that the priorities are the behavior of the adults, not whether there's a piece of laundry on the ground.

What is Friday Night Stripes?

A podcast for, by, and about high school football officials