It seems like there has been more and more negative news about officiating and people recently leaving the avocation for a myriad of reasons. Low pay, time commitment, sportsmanship issues and other issues. While there is definitely validity to those issues (some more so than others), here is why I think more people should say yes to officiating and become an official. 
Officiating has been one of the most challenging things I have probably ever done, but also one of the most rewarding and most impactful things I have done in my life. Having played sports growing up, I never envisioned officiating as a way to stay involved. Like most young kids, I had a dream of someday working in sports because I had such a passion for them, and officiating has provided a path for that dream to come true for me. 
Officiating is an opportunity for those that want to stay involved in sports, give back to the games they love and earn a few extra bucks. In my view, here are some of the top benefits: 
Flexible Schedule
With officiating, unlike coaching or other ways of staying in the game, you can pick your own schedule, working as much or as little as possible around what I like to call ‘real life commitments,’ such as family, work, school, etc. Even if you are only available on Saturday and Sunday, great, we have plenty of games on those days. Only on weeknights, you say? Great. We have plenty of games at those times too! 
Every game - no matter the location, abilities of the players or age division of the teams - is a challenge. No one game is ever the same, and that’s a rush that cannot be explained. You are in the moment and have to make a big decision with a game on the line. Great games, talented athletes and unscripted moments that occur in sports will become commonplace in your life, and you'll be right in the middle of them.
The officiating community is incomparable to any other community I have been a part of in my life. Sharing difficulties, challenges and successes with fellow officials is incredible, and many of these folks have become lifelong friends. Having each other’s back and helping them through struggles on and off the field is very real. Officials don't just support each other on the field, but off the field as well. 
Earn a Few Dollars
I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say this was one of the biggest benefits. Unless you are going to be officiating one of the big major professional sports, it's not easy to make a living off of officiating, but it is one of the absolute best ways to supplement your income or save for something nice. Especially for those just starting out in their careers. There simply is no better part-time job or hobby for you to make a little extra money doing something you enjoy than through officiating. 
Officiating is challenging but the rewards are great. To be successful you will need to be mentally tough with good people skills and thick skin. Officiating will teach you how to be the best at those skills plus many more. The game needs you so challenge yourself and sign up to become an official today! 

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