National Referee Program

George Noujaim

George Noujaim

National Referee Program …Is it a right fit For You?

The answer is not always YES. Ask others that are in the program now. They will explain the “rigors and rewards”. The NRP requires focus and fitness and match management comprehension. It is an initial venture into the unknown with rewards equally unknown but requiring the abnormal. Time sacrifice and travel may challenge life too. Simply “Just because I’d like to be one” is not the answer.

Here are NRP Director George Noujaim’s succinct comments, as conveyed in the July 2005 NISOA Newsletter:

“Do you really want to be a National Referee? Why?”

Simple as these questions might seem, there is certainly more to the answer than, ‘Because I’d like to become one.’

It is essential thought our careers to have referees at every level who possess the skills, abilities and attitudes that will enable them to successfully carry out the responsibilities incumbent to their role.

There is no quick way to develop national referees. A referee’s hourglass is infinite; learning takes place throughout your career; he/she never ceases to be a student, never climbs so high as to be above gaining new insights or studying innovative ways or methods – from whatever background or organization they may come.

In every stage of our lives we are delegating certain tasks. Most of our decisions are made based on experience, education and training, common sense and emotional spontaneity. Whether we are deciding where to go for our next vacation or whom to invite to a party, whether we are making plans for our family’s well-being or selecting an investment plan for retirement, we are officiating our own life and sometimes the lives of others.

Basically, refereeing is equal to decision making. We will make good decisions, bad ones, right, and wrong decisions during our lives. These are not just successes or failures; these are learning experiences.

It must be noted that most decisions we make are not final, and knowing the steps to making corrections is to have a good management skill. In general, accepting the challenge of National Referee status is a risk requiring courage. Nobody can be a ‘top referee’ just by training; they have to be able to use natural skills, those so called intangibles that cannot necessarily be thought.

When accepting the challenge one must, as the saying goes, ‘think outside the box’. Some of the areas that are most character-forming and sometimes overlooked in developing your drive to move up the officiating ladder are loyalty, courage, desire, emotional and physical stamina, empathy, decisiveness, anticipation, timing, self-confidence, credibility, tenacity and stewardship. Most of these attributes cannot be taught, yet they are essential to becoming a national referee.

One must add to these attributes strategic thinking, evaluating, delegating, understanding, implementing decisions, communicating, interaction, conceptual thinking, motivating, analytical thinking and setting goals, just to mention a few of the skills you need to be able to look in the mirror and say, ‘Here stands one great national referee’.

So, back to the original question: ‘Do I really want to be a NISOA National Referee’? Others in the program or that have been may wish to assist in your guidance. Their thoughts may reflect enjoyment or regrets. The bottom line is that they are National Referees and they stay focused and are in great physical condition. There must be something there at the national level to keep referees going.

Good luck in your decision.

George Noujaim, NRP Director