Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President's Message

WMTFOA President's Message
    The rain this week will undoubtedly play havoc with the schedule, but I am pleased to say that the season has been very positive so far. The Steele Relay weekend was quite a test on our association as there were two collegiate meets that same Saturday. With several officials called in from outside the state to help out, the day went well at all three venues, but it did serve to emphasize that fact that we need more qualified officials in Western Mass. That said, I encourage you all to pass the word, and try your hands in recruiting for next year. It's never too early.
    Looking ahead, it's hard to believe that the league championships are less than two weeks away. I have seen the assignments for the D-I, D-II meets and the Western Mass meet and I find it encouraging that there are some new names. Congratulations if your have been asked to work these. Your being selected recognized your strong work. We on the executive committee have heard much of the feedback on our officials as well as the very day issues from our sport and I would like to continue to pass these thoughts along to you:
1.      Concussion Training – As you hopefully are all aware, officials are required to have completed concussion training, this made easier with the two on line training offered through our blog. We have not kept track of this as an association. You are responsible for it. This may change in the future as we look into the possibility of assigning officials like they do in just about every other sport, but until that time, please make every effort to complete the training and keep you certificate with your track gear should the school ask for it. 
2.  Certification Exam – Our association requires passing a re-certification test with each new Olympiad. Most of you have done so, but there is still a short list of WMTFOA members who have not either mailed the test back into our certification chair Lisa Kerr or successfully passed the test. I did see at least one on that list officiating a meet and confirmed that official's having not completed the test. You must be certified to work any post season meets according to the M.I.A.A. and the names of uncertified officials will also be sent to the athletic directors.
3.      Who's working where – With four counties to cover, we cannot keep track of where everyone is working. As we are trying to project our needs for next year, it is imperative that we know if all the meets are fully staffed. Accordingly, we ask that you let us know at which schools you have work and how many certified officials were working with you. It would also be helpful to know if there are other schools you are willing to go to and how you received the assignments this year.
4.      Pre-Meet Meeting – I have worked at several different schools and noticed that some do not have a pre-meet meeting with the officials, coaches and team captains. This meeting is important to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the schedule of events, official assignments and the meet responsibilities for officials, coaches and athletes. Officials should also inspect the venues for safety and rules violations. We have heard of issues regarding Longmeadow's pole vault, javelin and discus circle, and I saw a couple of issues regarding the javelin venue at Amherst, (the metal toe board was not in place and there was no marked center mark to pull the tape through).  Several schools still do not have a mile and two mile line painted on the track, (we measured off the lines at a meet at Chicopee High) and there are break line issues for some events at some schools, and this is an issue we would like to address with these schools after the season.
5.      Annual Meeting – Save the date Wednesday, June 13th for our annual meeting and awards banquet. We have reserved the Holyoke Elks for this but full details will be sent out to all of you shortly.
6.      Member feedback – Each of us are invaluable sources of information and accordingly I encourage you all to share your experiences with the rest of the board. The executive board would like to hear your positive experiences as well as any negative experiences you may have. Such material is considered when we set up our clinic topics and it goes a long way in helping us address the needs of our members and of the sport.
Remember, we take your concerns and input seriously and will respond. Good luck with your assignments and please let us know how things are going.
Rick Lajoie,
President WMTFOA

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