By Sam Bailey / Staff Writer
In the world of sports, officiating is often the last thing people think to glorify and the first thing people tend to blame.
One club at Hutchinson Community College is looking to change this outlook and bring more people into the art of officiating.
“The officiating club is to provide a place for a group for students to be a part of, and build, their basic officiating knowledge as far as rules go, (the) mechanics of the game, and how to officiate,” said the club’s sponsor, HutchCC biology instructor and experienced official himself, Ryan Pinkall.
He continued by saying the club will also provide contacts and mentors in the area so members of the club can begin officiating and know who to contact in the officiating world. Another goal is to provide the students with gear. It can be fairly expensive to begin and a lot of people don’t know where to start.
The gear provided to members of the HutchCC Officiating Club will include shirts, pants and any other equipment needed to officiate whatever sport that members are interested in.
One of the founders of the club, Pratt freshman Zachary Shanline, has been a KSHSAA registered official in baseball, basketball, and football for the past three years. He has officiated varsity high school football for the past two years and has also gained experience officiating multiple other athletic events.
When asked what his goals were for the club, Shanline responded by saying, “In the future, I would love for this club to gain more members that are interested in officiating and train high-quality officials that are able to get registered with KSHSAA.
“One aspect of the club that we really like is that you are able to progress as fast as you want. If someone wants to join and work third- and fourth-grade basketball, they are more than welcome, while if another person wants to work up to maybe some high school varsity games, we will give them the contacts and resources necessary to do that.”
This club is open to all people with the interest of officiating any sport.
“Anybody can join,” Pinkall said. “You don’t have to have any experience, you just have to have the drive to want to be an official. That’s the whole purpose of the group, to get more people involved and understand that officiating isn’t bad.”
“We help students find games in whatever sport they may be looking for: football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, etc,” Shanline said. “If we do not know how to work a certain sport, then we will find officials in the area to come in (and) teach that sport.”
Shanline said that while this club was officially founded Oct. 22, meetings will begin once more members join. For anyone interested in joining the club, they can contact Pinkall at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling him at 620-672-1799.
They can also contact Shanline at email@example.com or at 620-388-3023. The scan on the posters around campus does not work so make sure and contact either Pinkall or Shanline personally for further information.
Qualified officials are always needed in sports both local and national. Starting this new officiating club at HutchCC is the beginning of the movement Shanline and other hopeful officials are looking to start by getting young people interested in the world of officiating.