Michigan high schools officials waiting anxiously for their seasons along with athletes

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 8:01 PM EDT
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DAVISON, Mich. (WJRT) - As high school athletes and coaches adjust to new schedules and wait for final decisions on the fate of their seasons, referees are doing the same.

They have that same hope to put on their uniforms, grab their whistles and get back to the action. A 36-year officiating veteran at schools around Genesee County is finding a way to stay positive during uncertain times.

“It’s been tough because we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” said Frank Mar. “It’s hard sitting around at home when you’re used to going out and doing games all the time.”

Along with officiating, he is also a sub assigner for high school basketball -- meaning he assigns referees to each game. This year that process will be different.

“Even though football is talking about moving to the spring, our next sport coming up is basketball and we don’t know what they’re going to do about that,” Mar said. “You’re almost doing double duty, because we’re not going to start assigning yet until we find out what’s going on. It’s going to be a waiting game for us too.”

Although the officials have already been thrown a curveball, the hope is it doesn’t push away referee recruits.

“As long as everybody does their social distancing and everything else we’re trying to tell them it’s going to be just like us we’re not going to put them in harm’s way,” Mar said. “I hope it doesn’t impact the younger officials because we need younger officials cause we’re not getting any younger.”

Mar is also the commissioner of the Davison youth football league. The week before the Michigan High School Athletic Association announced their decision to postpone football, he and his committee decided it was best to cancel their season.

That decision weighed a lot on his mind.

“We had to do it early because we had to order uniforms and collect money, but we didn’t want to do that if we weren’t going to have a season,” Mar said. “We decided it was best for the safety of the kids and everyone involved not to have it this year. I would’ve felt bad if anyone got it. Like I said that would’ve been on my conscience God forbid anything bad to happen.”

For now, just like high school teams, referees around Mid-Michigan are anxiously waiting to get back to doing what they love. For them, that love is seeing these kids succeed on the field, on the court, or the diamond.

“We’re just trying to give back and it’s nice when the game is over to see the happiness and kids faces and things like that. And that’s what it’s all about,” Mar said.

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