Football, Sport News | August 26, 2011

Flag on the Play

Referee Johnny Ivie and Family

Referee Johnny Ivie and Family

A Weekly Article by First Year Official Johnny Ivie


One of the greatest things about me being out on the field as an official is that I get to relive some of the past feelings, emotions, and memories of my own past football career.  I love the feel of it!  The smell of it! The way the ball bounces, the blow of the whistle, and the sound of pads hitting together.  It takes me back to so many thoughts and experiences as a player.  Man I love this game!

I get a chance to play, ah excuse me, officiate football and make all of this become some of the greatest times I have ever had on the football field.  One thing that I had forgotten is how it feels to be a part of a team.  I see out on the field, young men working together to put together all the plans they have been working on throughout the weeks practices, how they listen to their coaches, and the way they lead one another through difficult situations on the field.

I see the sense of comradery that these young warriors feel for one another and understand how we all can be able to feel a sense of purpose if we work together.  That is the same way I feel for my fellow officials.  What most football fans do not see is the preparation off the field that officials go through to get ready for a game.  How we spur one another on to do the best we can and not to make mistakes.  How we sharpen one another from the top to the bottom of the experience level.  Lastly, how we study the game and try to make sense of situations before they happen.

Yes, I love this game!  I love it because it fulfills a deep desire to be a part of something great.  We all seem to want that right?  Most people strive for more than mediocrity, don’t they?

I remember the first official game I officiated.  I defiantly was nervous but felt a sense of confidence going into this because of the training and support I had received.  I remember the pre-game meeting with my co-officials and how we spoke of responsibilities each of us had.  As I sat there in that locker room I felt a sense of awareness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.  As we met, I could here through the walls the sounds of both teams getting ready for the battle they were about to face.

I could hear laughter, screams of excitement, and pads being bang together in some ritual to pump one another up.  Then came the coach’s speeches and the inevitable roar of anticipation when he yelled, “Let Go!”

This is a great game! It was meant for greatness because it takes us to a point where we are beaten, broken, bloodied, and soiled.  Then it asks for more.  One more down, one more play, one more score to win the game.  I love this game and guess what?  It is about to start.  Football season is upon us once again and whether your team wins or looses, the thrill is all the same.

The chance for “what if’s” happen all the time and it keeps us coming back to the game.  What if my team really wins, what if they go all the way?  What if they score this winning touchdown or field goal?  What if we loose?  The questions are endless and that is why greatness happens in this game.  What if?  Thanks for sharing this time with me.