Twenty-year veteran official Tony Campa sends a sign to the box in Portola for the Tiger vs. Redding game April 9. The white hat designates Campa as the Head Official for the game. Photo by Mari Erin Roth

The official challenge – more are needed

By Mari Erin Roth
The season of sports has never seen a year like 2021 as all sports clamor to the field and the court to squeeze in some play for the year. Fall football is on the field in spring as are soccer, baseball, softball, tennis, beach volleyball, and basketball to name a few.
This is unprecedented and the strain it is putting on the limited resource of officials is considerable, no matter how short-lived. “Yeah … craziest year I’ve ever been involved with,” said Executive Assigner (officials coordinator), and seasoned sports official of 13 years, Valerie Campa.
Football squads are on the field this spring for a warmer yet extremely abbreviated season. Quincy High had just four games on theschedule, which was an improvement over zero last year for the fall season. One of those precious dates had to be scratched April 9. “Our game was cancelled due to a schedule conflict with the referees,” said Quincy head football coach Daniel Waltimeyer.
“I couldn’t even get a football crew from Reno, Chico or Yuba City area as they didn’t have enough officials themselves,” said Campa. “With so many sports trying to be crammed into such a short season there is a limited number of officials available to work.”
Being an official is a tough job. “The biggest way officials are recruited is those who have a passion for that game,” said Valerie Campa. “Officiating is a craft, it’s a challenge, and I love challenges.” Campa says she thinks people might enjoy officiating if they realize the true value to the game.
Campa said she never played football but “I am looking forward to officiating in Loyalton this weekend.” Who wouldn’t? As a local sports photographer I can say there are fewer places more scenic than the views from the Loyalton athletic fields.
Crowds can be rough on officials. Knowing that games don’t happen with out them raises awareness of the precious commodity they are to the world of local sports. Anyone interested in becoming an official or with other officiating questions can contact Campa via phone at 263-6302.