Here’s Why So Many Minnesota Prep Events are Getting Moved
Before you head out to support your favorite high school sports team, you might want to double check the schedule. Activities directors have been forced to move some games around due to a lack of officials. It's an issue in many sports and at many age levels.
Saturday high school football games might seem kind of fun and different, but you lose the "Friday night lights" aspect of the sport, Blooming Prairie football coach Chad Gimbel told me. The Awesome Blossoms have had to move a pair of Friday games to Saturday due to the crunch of officials.
Gimbel also said a crew at a recent game is planning to retire after the season. There are several reasons for the shortage. Concerns over the pandemic have led to some officials steering clear. Some may have taken a step back during the delayed and reduced seasons of the 2020-2021 school year and not returned.
Another concern is the abuse officials can take from fans and coaches. Owatonna High School activities director Marc Achterkirch encourages spectators to give some grace to those officiating games, saying they are doing their best. He added that it's a good way to give back to the sports that gave you so many good memories.
Just on last week's Saturday morning high school coaches show, two coaches informed me of changes to their upcoming schedule due to the inability to find officials for their games.
Contact your local activities director or the Minnesota State High School League to find out about becoming an official. They are needed in most sports.