BEFORE WE HEAD INDOORS, LET’S HAVE A LITTLE CHAT

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The fall athletic season began with an incredibly hot day at Husky Stadium as the Lincoln Abes squared off against the O’Dea Fighting Irish. Just three months later, the weather has turned into the usual wet and nasty Evergreen State fare. So that means it’s time to put away the rain gear and galoshes and head indoors for some warmth and maybe even some popcorn that doesn’t get soggy by the end of the first quarter.

Before we finish lacing up the basketball and wrestling shoes, let’s go over a few things that need to be discussed.

Firstly, I’ll admit it. While being a fan in the stands, I have often wondered what a referee was (or wasn’t) seeing out there on the field. On occasion, I’ve even voiced my displeasure. Believe me, I fully understand how invested anyone can get into their team and a game. Sometimes the adrenaline gets the better of the situation and things are said, or yelled, that under different circumstances, might cause a person to feel embarrassed by their actions.

On the other hand, there are those out there that feel they can easily do a better job than the referees out there sweating for minimal pay and for the love of the sport.

I have some advice for these folks. Maybe it’s time to prove just how qualified you are and get into the field of refereeing. I’m sure there have been multitudes of men and women over the years, who after having witnessed one too many blown calls, decided to take matters into their own hands and got the ball rolling themselves.

Believe it or not, the situation in the referee world is a very serious affair. Fewer men and women are making the journey to certification these days, while more and more referees punch their last time card and head off into the sunset.

Unruly fans, coaches that won’t stop yammering from first whistle to final horn, and an uptick in on-field violence around the country have been pushing referees out of the business.

This will have big ramifications one day if the trend is not reversed. Fewer referees means those officials will be covering more activities than they probably should. Continue that further down the line, and leagues will begin to have difficulty hosting all of their games, as there are not enough officials available.

So make the call. Step up to the plate. It’s an easy process. All you have to do is fill in your name and email address, or simply make a phone call. Become the referee that you proclaim yourself to be from the stands. Visit woa-officials.com and fill in three simple lines, or call (425) 687-8009.

Do it for the rest of us, because we’d much rather see you out on the field, than hear you in the stands.

Now that the nasty stuff is out of the way, let’s shine some light on the best athletics organization in the Puget Sound. The Tacoma Athletic Commission has been celebrating their 75th anniversary this year and it’s hard to imagine Tacoma athletics without these fine folks. When the TAC hosted the Harlem Globetrotters at the Tacoma Armory in January of 1943, it was the beginning of a relationship that has done wonders for our community.

Since then, the TAC has raised and donated more than $6 million to local sports programs. That is some serious business right there.

If you have any interest in Tacoma or Pierce County athletics, maybe it’s time you gave the TAC a little thought. Joining is easy, and once you get to meet some of these men and women, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t taken the step a long time ago.

While this writer is never going to be a referee (blame it on my bones), last month I put my name on the dotted line and joined up. I’ve felt a sense of pride since and look forward to what the TAC will be doing in its coming 76th year.

Pay a visit to tacomaathletic.com and see if it feels right.

Lastly, I often get asked about the Tacoma Stars. The usual line of questioning involves why they aren’t playing in the Tacoma Dome, instead of the Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent.

It will always be a dream for Stars’ owner Lane Smith to someday return to the Tacoma Dome, but the fact of the matter is the costs are just too much. While the Stars offer reasonable ticket prices (and free parking) at the ShoWare, the ticket prices would have to soar at the Tacoma Dome to just break even.

Meanwhile, the Stars (and their growing fan base) are happy with the gorgeous facility in Kent, and the drive is a lot shorter than one would think.

In addition, there are currently six Stars on the regular roster that are former graduates of Tacoma high schools. That’s more hometown players than any of the other professional sports teams in the region, by far.

Friday, Dec. 1, the dreaded San Diego Sockers will be paying the Stars a visit. Yes, those San Diego Sockers, and they’re still just as potent as ever. Get on out and support your boys. Give it a try.

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