Referees and the assignor work as a team. Together, we have an obligation to the leagues we serve to fill every referee slot on every game, every day of the season. When a referee makes him or herself available to officiate, they become part of the team as well as part of that obligation.

With the number of games the referee team has to cover each week, the assigning system has to be efficient or it quickly descends into chaos.

Referees who do not keep their Arbiter calendar updated often receive assignments they cannot honor and have to return the assignment. Most referees don’t see this as a problem and assume that since it’s only 1 or 2 games someone else can easily fill the assignments. However, this assumption is inaccurate. In some cases we have had 70 or 80 turn backs in a single week due to calendar issues. That is a huge burden on all referees as well as the assignor. Here are some other potential problems.

First, depending on location or time of day, there isn’t always another referee available. If the position can’t be filled, that’s disrespectful to the players, coaches and spectators involved. Remember, as a player, it could be your game that doesn’t have a referee.

Second, you are putting a burden on a fellow referee who may not really want another assignment, but picks up your mistake out of a sense of duty to the game. You have disrespected your fellow referees by not keeping your calendar updated.

Third is what I call the puzzle or lego effect. Putting the weekly referee assignment schedule together takes an enormous amount of time and is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together or building a new lego project. You are proud when you finish, but then your little brother or sister comes along and kicks the table and scatters all the pieces. How do you feel? It’s the same for an assignor. Turn backs due to calendar issues show disrespect for the assignor. It says your time is more valuable than the assignor’s.

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Please be responsible and be sure your calendar is always updated during the season.