In many sports and leagues there are specific rules referees and ATs must follow regarding injuries and running out onto the field. If we ignore these rules it could impact the end result of a game. In rugby for example if you take a player off the field to evalutate them during play they cannot return to the game. In other sports and leagues if the AT comes out onto the field the player must come off. These rules are different between sports, leagues and levels and as Per Diem ATs constantly working in different environments, it is important to check with the refs before the game starts find out what the rules are.
This past weekend I was working at a town league U15 lacrosse game. I did my normal introductions to the referees and the coaches and when I finished the ref told me "I will call you out if we need you." I looked at him like this is town league, are you serious? But, I said "Alright sure," with a smile and nod knowing that there are no formal rules about injuries at this level. During this single game, there were three instances when I needed to run out onto the field and in none of these situations did the referee even remember that he was supposed to call me out. He was too busy doing his own job to remember to tell me when to do mine. As soon as I noticed that he had no regard for the injured player lying on the ground and no intentions of calling me out I made the decision myself to go out on the field. Here’s what was more important to the ref: telling the table about a penalty, telling the coach about a call and breaking up a non-fight. One of these times, the ref didn’t even blow the whistle and the coach had to call time out so that I could get onto the field. Each time I got more and more annoyed. At the end of the game, I nicely told the referee that he forgot to call me out and in the future at this level, he can leave that decision up to us ATs. He got a little defensive, but I said to him, “Why make your job more difficult? What difference does it make at this level?” He agreed.
So the moral of this story: If a ref tells you that he/she will make the call about when you need to do your job, use your judgement and don’t wait too long to be called. If you’re watching the game, (and of course you should be) you should know the urgency of the injury. If you are in a league that requires you to be called out or if the player must come out of the game when the AT goes out, what I usually do is get myself as close as possible to the player from the sideline. That way you’re right there if needed. If a ref seems too preoccupied to call you out, just go. That's your job.
Another Random Ref Story: A few years back, I was contracted for single softball game. I got to the field and did my usual introductions and something very different and unexpected happened. The home plate umpired, an older gentleman (very older) looked at me and said in all seriousness, “If I go down, just leave me there.” I smiled and laughed and said “OKAY” in my sarcastic voice and he said solemnly “You think I'm kidding but I am dead serious, just leave me.” I didn't know what to say to that so I just turned on my heels and headed back to the bench. My head was spinning. Obviously I was not going to leave a ref laying on the ground! I didn't know the rules in this situation. What was my role? I was pretty sure that I had to help in all situations or until someone more advanced came and took over and didn't remember learning anything about DNR's in college (not that he had one for me… but what if he did?) Anyone know what happens then? So basically throughout that whole game all I was thinking was: Please don't die, please don't die! Good times.
Those are my only good ref stories. Anyone else have any good ones? Let us know in comments below.
Things are pretty quiet around here this week. We are starting to get ready for the Memorial Day Weekend Tournament. For more info about this tournament refer to this old blog post. We have a couple of new fields to cover this year which brings the total ATs needed to about 75. Shirts are ordered and supplies are being inventoried. We try to do everything we can until we receive the actual schedule at each field so that when it is complete we only have to worry about finalizing the field schedule, sending ATs their contracts then getting packets and bags organized.
We are also slowly starting to get requests for summer camps. Our camp clients are really high quality and understand and respect our ATs and our profession. They also compensate appropriately. As always a few camps have unfortunately been turned away. I’m not going to go into my “camp salary rant” you can find that here. OK, just a tiny rant: Camps require more preparation, work, and supplies than your everyday per diem job, so why would ATs work for less? Precision AT starts camp ATs at $35/hour for all working hours. If you are making less than thisat your yearly gig, perhaps you could have a friendly/professional discussion with your camp directors about how our profession is evolving and it has resulted in you currently being underpaid at their camp. Change doesn’t have to happen in one year, but if you show the directors the NATA salary survey as well as this letter from our state organization and say something like, "I love working your camp every year. How can we get my salary closer to this recommended rate over the next few years?" You’ll be doing us all a favor. We all have to work together to END BAD CAMP SALARIES.
That's all I've got for you today! Comments and personal stories are always encouraged.