Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Human Side of Officials

Gordon Riese, the Pacific 10 Conference replay official who acknowledged making errors in the last minutes of Saturday's Oklahoma-Oregon game, has been granted a leave of absence for the rest of this season. Riese, 64, who earned $400 a game as a replay analyst, told the Associated Press earlier this week he received death threats after the game. "I can't sleep, I can't eat, my blood pressure is skyrocketing." Riese added: "I'm struggling with it. I feel so bad I missed the call, it's driving me crazy." We certainly feel for Riese. Imagine being in his situation, with the world coming down on you. These men make a lot of sacrifices to officiate games. Take Mark Johnson, a back judge who has worked 160 I-A games, including Saturday's Iowa State-Iowa game. "We don't just jump out of a van 10 minutes before kickoff, do the game and go home until the next assignment rolls around," Johnson told Eric Pratt of the Fort Dodge Messenger. "This isn't a few hours a day for one day a week. It's an extensive, exhaustive process." Johnson is a assistant principal at a middle school, is married and has a daughter and son. "It's not always easy. There's no way you could even consider something like this if your family wasn't on board and on the same page. I really appreciate their respect for what I do." Thanks to reader Bruce!

No comments: