All sports and games have rules - it's what sets them apart from other sports and games. When we play with friends or family, we trust each other to follow the rules. But if you're playing against a stranger for example, how can you make sure they're not going to cheat? That's where game officials come in. If you want to learn more about game officials and their importance to sport, this article should give you the basic facts.
Game officials won't be present at every game you play. Any game where you keep track of the score by your fingers will not warrant an official. Only serious, competitive games where there is something at stake, such as a medal or trophy or even just the chance to move on to the next round in a competition have officials. Officials are also present during games where there is likely to be conflict, such as games played among young people in school or between rival companies.
The official's job is to make sure everyone present plays by the rules of the game. Since it can be difficult to watch an entire field and all the players on it at once, you may need several officials. In many sports, there are different types of officials. Some watch player behavior, others keep an eye out for equipment or people going out of bounds, while still others are responsible for keeping time or scoring.
When an official sees a rule being broken, generally he or she will blow a whistle to stop play while judgment is meted out. Penalties for rule breaking range from losing points to handing over possession of the ball to the other team to having to sit out of play for part of the game. In some cases, officials may have to break up a fight or deal with players and coaches who don't think the call was fair and want to argue with the official.
If you want to hire an official, you would approach the local branch of the organization that governs the sport you are playing. They will have a roster of local officials you can hire for your game or tournament. If you would like to become an official, you must first learn all of the rules of the sport or game and then prove your knowledge to the organization governing your sport, usually with a test. At this point they will add you to their roster of approved officials available for hire. Officials are usually paid on a game by game basis.
For the definition of a referee you can click here, and for a description of an umpire you can click here.
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