Home Sports Local Sports Zebras wanted for Hike It and Spike It

Zebras wanted for Hike It and Spike It

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Jeff Weathers is looking for Hike and Spike It officials. (Mike Smith Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Jeff Weathers, the man in charge of recruiting officials for the Hike It and Spike It 4-on-4 flag football tournament, admits the people that work for him won’t have an easy job Memorial Day weekend. If someone wants to earn some extra money and get some free meals then Weathers encourages people to apply.

Weathers said three referees will be needed.

“Two full-time officials on the field and one scorekeeper and they can work out the mechanics all they want,” Weathers said.

Those wishing to wear the striped shirts will go through a training process, according to Weathers. There are online videos and then there are some “live” drills.

“We do three trainings prior to the event a Sunday, Wednesday and Friday training at the site with the fields painted,” Weathers said. “We bring teams to scrimmage and the mechanics of being an official. A lot of the discussion is more along the lines of the mentality of an official.”

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Weathers feels if the adjudicators execute during the marathon of games at the Cielo Grande Recreation Area May 25-27, then everyone will be happy.

“We’ve said over and over again, ‘if you go home after a game and don’t remember the officials, they did a great job,’ Weathers said. “Nobody goes out to a sporting event to watch the referees. They go to the game to watch their kids and families play. We try to leave our ego at the door and just throw a flag when there’s a penalty and force it and sell the call and move the game along.”

Weathers have been involved with Hike and Spike It for nearly 20 years and during the past five years he’s been in charge of finding officials. He said today’s technology has made it easier to sign up people to serve as a traffic cop at the games.

“The old way we did it was word of mouth,” Weathers said. “You’d fill out a form and bring it to me and I’d organize it. Now, we have an online sign up that gets shot into a data base and infilled with everything we need to organize it and get it assigned.”

Weathers added that the pay scale has also changed.

“The other thing we did was last year we doubled the pay,” Weathers said. “So it used to be $100 for two days and we doubled it to $200 for each field official and now we’re paying a scorekeeper $50 a day. So, it’s $100 a day and $200 for the weekend.”

Weathers said the process of having a head official along with an assistant and a scorekeeper has created a sense of structure.

“The game play is smooth,” Weathers said. “A lot smoother than it used to be. We get a lot better quality officials that come out and do it and the type of people that go out there and do it, honestly would do it for free because they love it. That’s the kind of people who we’re looking for. You pay them pretty good wages to come out for a weekend.”

In order to be an official, Weathers said interested parties need to be 18 and older. He’s looking for some new blood and there’s also those have been doing it for decades.

“We’ve had guys that have been officiating for 15 or 20 years and they do an outstanding job and act as mentors,” Weathers said.

Teams will be playing on 43 fields during Hike It and Spike It and Weathers said there are generally around 130 officials and most arrive by 7 a.m. on game day.

“Usually they pick up a bucket it has every flag for the two teams, two different colors, the football and the clipboard with the sheets,” Weathers said. “The head official will come and get the bucket and will get assigned his help and they will go to the field immediately and games will start at 8 a.m.”

Weathers said officials have encountered problems with some teams at past events. However, if a situation should develop there is a mechanism in place to put down any fires.

“Like what I would be doing Saturday or Sunday, I would be at five or six fields and if there’s an issue the radio gets brought up and they say, ‘call Jeff to Field B,’ we go solve the issue and move on,” Weathers said. “It’s a fairly seamless event.”

Anyone interested in applying should go to roswellgridiron.com and look for the officials tab.

“Watch the videos, show up to a couple of the trainings that we have the week before and we’ll just have a great weekend and show up and we’ll get paid on the way out Sunday,” Weathers said.