#MediaMonday – Brent Killackey

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I’ve been officiating high school sports for 30 years.   I’m certainly passionate about it.  Something often unknown to high school sports fans it how much time officials put into their avocation.  One of the officials’ tools is Referee Magazine.  So today we have a #MediaMonday post from  Brent Killackey, managing editor of Referee Magazine.   The monthly publication was founded in the mid ‘70s and is the only magazine written by officials, for officials.  I was actually featured in the magazine early in my officiating career – back in 1986!

Brent, it’s your call:

Part of my job requires rendering a split-second judgments about a small circular object that’s hurtling dangerously close to my head – sometimes at speeds approaching 80 miles an hour. And then I get to write about it.

I’m talking about umpiring high school baseball – and serving as managing editor of Referee magazine, which since 1976 has been dedicated to covering the sports officiating industry at all levels: youth and high school to college and the pros. It’s a magazine by sports officials for sports officials, with an emphasis on baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball and football.

I’ve been umpiring youth baseball since I was 13, getting my start with my hometown Little League. And when I finally got a chance to move into high school baseball about a decade ago, I was fortunate to come across Referee and the National Association of Sports Officials. The magazine and other officiating materials they produced helped me grow and improve as an umpire. And about two years ago, I jumped at the chance to join the staff and help other officials the same way Referee had helped me.

The work is quite different from the newspaper reporter positions that have made up the bulk of my media career to this point, but it’s so rewarding to give back to officiating, which has given me so much. And it could give you much, too. Here are five reasons to considering getting involved in sports officiating:

  1. It will challenge you in way few other things can. It often looks easy from the bleachers, but it’s not. But there are few things more satisfying than nailing that tough call or keeping your cool when the game’s intensity gets red hot.
  2. It’s the best seat in the house. You get to stay involved in sports and see the action right from the field or court. Can’t beat that. (And you can often get some exercise in the process, too!)
  3. Sure, they may boo you. But they ultimately need you. Without referees and umpires, it’s just recess. And in many parts of the country, they’re struggling to find enough good officials for all the scheduled games.
  4. You get paid. You’re not going to get rich officiating, but it can be a nice side income amid all the other rewards.
  5. It’s fun. Sure it’s not always easy, but it’s a blast to be involved in sports as an official. It’s a great way to give back — and there are so many rewards. NASO.org has information on how to get involved in officiating in your area.
Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio