Mike’s Minute

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The travesty of football officiating

By Mike Aldridge

I may have referred to this before and if I have, I apologize, but I feel that it bears repeating even if I have already mentioned.

We learned Friday that Joseph Ammerman will referee one of the six state championship games this year in Bowling Green. 

This is a great honor for Joseph, well deserved and appropriate. It makes me particularly happy because it gives me a reason that Patti will buy into for me to go to the Bowling Green plus the other playoff games in case Harrison County loses Friday night. 

On these occasions there is much good football to be seen and great camaraderie among the officials that are officiating the game and those of us who wish we were.  

This is not the travesty of officiating mentioned in the headline. 

Some of you know how many football officials there have been in Cynthiana over the years. Though I will forget some I will mention the ones that I know beginning with the ones that I did not have a chance to call games with like Darl Feix, Earl Chasteen and Richard Gibson along with the several that I have called contests with such as Garland Farmer, Larry Willis, Chris Turley, Steve “Moose” Morris, Ernie Barnes, Bob Ammerman, Joseph Ammerman, and the guy who got many of us involved, John Swinford. 

I know that three of us called state championship games Bob, Joseph and I, and that one other of us (Ernie) should have done one because someone else got his game in a case of mistaken identity and I believe that each of us deserved the chance. 

In addition to the three of us in football there have been six officials in basketball and one in softball who have called the state championship tournament. Jerry Jenkins, Doug Hampton, Rick Chasteen, Brent Hampton, Terry Smith and Bart Lenox have all been on the floor for the Sweet Sixteen and Steve Chasteen has called the softball tournament in Owensboro. 

All of the men mentioned are well deserving of the honor and several of them have been in the state championship tournament in their sport more than one time.  

Now here is the travesty.  The person who is recognized by most of his fellow football officials and many other football people around the area as the person who started us all, John Swinford, never got to call a state championship game. 

Some of the others who have been out of the officiating game for a while didn’t get to do one because there were only three classes for a while so there weren’t as many opportunities, there were only four-man crews for a time and there was a time when the whole crew was assigned so if there was an inexperienced man on the crew none of the crew would be assigned.  

But John was involved way past these times and while good enough to do college ball in the Gateway Conference, the Mid South Conference, the Missouri Valley Conference along with others, he was never chosen to do the Kentucky State High School Championship. 

Folks, to you I say, “This is ridiculous.” 

I hope that the people who were in charge back in those days can look themselves in the mirror and like what they see. 

 I don’t know how they can but so be it. I have already complained more about this than John Swinford ever did or ever would because he wasn’t that kind of guy. But until I take my last breath I will know that he was never given an opportunity that he earned and by no fault of his own.