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JONFINEPRODUCTIONS.COM NEWSLETTER 7/11/19
CLIMATE WISHES…We are hoping that everyone stays safe and sound and dry in the coming days
DSHS SCOOP…… Wes Howard will be named the new principal at Denham Springs HS….Kelly Jones has accepted a position with the Livingston Parish School Board.  We thank Mr Jones for all of his help with our Denham Springs HS throughout the years.
DSHS SCOOP #2….The 2019 Denham Springs HS Athletics Hall of Fame class will include Michael Boone, Jamie Chustz-Felder, Robert Graves, Van Foster III, Raymond Harris and Regina Jackson.
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HOUSTON ASTROS BASEBALL….Catch Houston Astros Baseball on SportsRadio-1310-KEZM-Lake Charles.
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THE WIZARDRY OF OS
By Scott Osborne
Assistant Basketball Coach at Central High School

I feel a little guilty that everytime I write about soccer I have a negative tone, so let me begin by celebrating another World Cup victory for the U-S-A!  
While I wasn’t able to watch much of the early matches on the pitch (yes I am trying to cram as much soccer jargon as possible), I was able to watch the knockout rounds.  Just like in other sports, the players that put points on the board get most of the attention.  Alex Morgan and Megan Riponoe are excellent players.  
Two players that should be getting more credit, though, are Rose Lavelle and Tobin Heath.  Lavelle has great speed and Heath has tremendous ball control.  I thought both were excellent in the semifinals and finals.
In general, my favorite part of this World Cup was the lack of flopping, whining, and in general poor sportsmanship that is prevalent in the men’s game.  In every match I watched, if a player was laying on the ground, the player was genuinely hurt.  Further, if the player was hurt, they would often try to play through the pain.  
Certainly, these actions are in stark contrast to the men’s game where players will flail on the ground before making a miraculous recovery.  I would still like to see some changes to improve the game, but in these aspects, I hope the women’s game never changes.
One game that is undergoing massive change is the NBA.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the off season to this point as almost every Pelican fan should  The Pels have Zion, a new front office, and a much improved roster.  Meanwhile, the Lakers were unable to attract a third max player, and the league is wide open.  
At this point, though, my off season interest in the NBA is pretty much complete.  The big questions have been answered.  I know the NBA and the NBA media will want to try and conjure up drama that isn’t there.  Maybe something else big will happen, but I doubt anything of significance will transpire at this point.  
Besides, the fun part of the NBA will take place during the season and in the playoffs.  There are many teams who were able to keep their core players in place, like the Blazers and Nuggets, that will be likely to get off to strong starts.  
Though a majority of the teams have undergone significant changes that will take a while for teams to work through.  Consequently, I fully expect the NBA to look like the NFL over the last half of the season.  Very few teams will be out of the playoff hunt while seeding will fluctuate regularly.  The top teams will be the most consistent teams over a long season, but by the time the playoffs begin, seeding will matter little.  It should be a very fun NBA season.
Finally, for those that feel LSU baseball is no longer elite, the facts on the ground differ.  LSU was able to attract the Eddie Smith from Tulane to be the volunteer coach.  Eddie Smith was Tulane’s recruiting coordinator and hitting coach.  At LSU, his contract will be paid through TAF.  His title and pay make him the third assistant, yet he left Tulane for LSU.  
For those that still don’t quite understand, I will try to come up with an equivalent situation.  Imagine if the offensive coordinator at the University of Houston came to LSU to be a position coach.  That doesn’t really happen.  
The message is the LSU baseball program is still elite, even if the last two seasons have been disappointing.  
HEY REF
BY DENNIS DEARIE
VETERAN LOUISIANA HS REFEREE

        “Yes, Virginia, there is a shortage of high school officials and it’s nationwide”! In almost every state of the union there is a real shortage of sports officials and Louisiana is one that is hurting to have enough officials to cover all contests in multiple sports. If anyone noticed just two short weeks ago a BREC basketball official was attacked after calling a second technical foul on one of its players. That player’s girlfriend must’ve taken it personal as she attacked the female ref after the game sending her to the hospital with injuries to her face and head.
        This is of course not an isolated instance by any stretch of the imagination. As I touch on this subject just a couple weeks ago it’s gotten so bad many officials are just not returning. As I read on the Federation’s web site the state of Iowa is taking the shortage seriously. The story reports that from 2007-2017 Iowa has recorded a 12 percent decrease in registered officials in seven sports; basketball, baseball, football, soccer, swimming, track and field and wrestling.
        Across all sports they saw 910 officials dropping out and not returning or renewing their registration in the 2017-2018 school years. Of those 351 were first time officials that registered in 2016-2017. According to data compiled in 2016 around 40% were over the age of 50. The numbers for football and basketball topped out at 48% and 45% respectfully. The numbers were worse for track/field (86%) and swimming (70%). State director of officials, Lewie Curtis, was quoted as saying “I can see the potential for this decline to become a critical issue in the next three to five years”.
        Iowa is implementing a new program to fight the declining number of officials which they’re calling “Add one at a time”. The reasons they give for the shortages are the same as in every other state which basically blame those not returning because of busy schedules, financial considerations, family responsibilities and of course the negative interactions with fans, coaches and players. I’m going to step away from their reasons and just cut to the chase and tell it like it is.
        In my short career which started in 1979 with a 12 year hiatus due to severe health problems I’d like to shed some light as to why I think officials are hanging up their stripes. In the beginning there was this one thing that was drilled into our heads and I’ve touched on it many times and it’s simply R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Respect was always a two way street in those early years. My mentor, Clyde Messenger, demanded we not only show respect for the coaches but also for the game. By his respecting both the coaches and the game which he explained to me were the players he was the number one referee everyone would want on the field working their games.
        There is a stark difference in today’s coaches, players and the game. One year I decided to transfer and work in a different association just to see how they worked games. My first game on the field, week 1 of a new season, I was put in a crew with seasoned officials. The white hat who didn’t know me or I him, asked if I’d ever worked a game with a certain coach. I told him that this would be my first game with this “EVIL” coach on my sideline. I assured him after more than twenty years I had worked for some real head cases and could handle this coach. 
        But what he would say next shocked me as he said “Look don’t flag this coach, he’s a real basket case so when he starts in on you just call time out and I’ll go talk to him”. EXCUSE ME? Don’t flag this coach? I asked if he was serious and he said “yes”. But being in a new association I did as I was asked to do and didn’t flag him. This coach was in la-la land, constantly complaining, getting on the field during penalties, etc., etc. Normally I’d have tossed this coach out before the end of the first quarter. 
        At half the ref “THANKED ME” for letting this coach scream the entire half. I refused to call time out so he could smooth things over with the coach and close to the end of the third quarter the ref on his own called a time out to talk with the coach because even the dead could hear his constant belly-aching. After the game I told the ref that he and the entire association was to blame for allowing this type of behavior. To be an official you’ve got to know how to handle coaches and players but the way this association allowed this coach to act was unprofessional. It was on the drive back that I found out why this coach was able to berate officials. Seems his team always made the playoffs and this association wanted to call his playoff games. 
        Another reason guys are dropping out is all the constant changes. The LHSAA decided to throw a bunch of money on the problem (not retaining officials) by giving in to pressure of a so called STRIKE and granting pay raises. Now it is all about the money and if the principals were dropping cash bonuses on its officials they now demanded officials attend a state (LHSAA) certified camp. The camps would be held in different cities from year to year. And it’s usually at least a two day affair so expenses come into play by having to book a hotel for a couple days if the camp isn’t in your city. So, we drop at least $500.00 for our attending the camp.
        There’s much more to the camp requirement but I don’t have enough space to explain further. Another thing is changing your classification. There used to be three levels that an official would be rated, REGISTERED was the first and it simply meant that you just signed on and are beginning your tour of duty so to speak. A green official would be classified registered until he had a few years under his belt to explain it simply. Then the next step was APPROVED. You’d worked a few years and made at least an 80% on the rules test.
        The top classification was CERTIFIED! That meant you worked the required number of years and made a minimum of 90% on the rules test. But hold on a second, GRASSHOPPER! You hadn’t made it yet to the top of the mountain so to speak because if you were CERTIFIED for FIVE CONSECUTIVE years you’d earn your RED PATCH. It was something that kept you wanting to KNOW THE RULES! Earning that patch said a lot about the official that was wearing it.
        Coaches knew that when he saw all five officials donning that red patch he was assured these were the best of the best. To take that honor away from the officials was like letting all the air out of the balloon. We took pride in achieving and earning that patch. And I feel it’s something missing from today’s officials. Just getting on a 5A field isn’t what it used to be. Just as teams and coaches strive to be the best I feel that getting rid of that patch was a huge mistake. I’ll continue next week on why I feel we need to go BACK TO THE FUTURE if we are to not only get the best but retain the best officials.
    Till next week….
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