From the Sidelines
One of the things you learn when you are a young official is where are you going after the game? This is crucial because after games, you get the time to relax and enjoy something to eat with the crew and go over the game.
After a while, you learn where the spot to go for your crew is. I know on my crew, Chip Caldwell who was my line judge always said when people asked if he was on an officiating crew he would tell them “no, we are a dining club that officiates!”
I thought about that the other day, it always made me laugh, and I thought about all the places we officiated in 27 years, and our favorite spots. I hope that this may help some younger crews, and for you people who just like good, inexpensive places to spend with friends and family.
My crew divided the places we went into the League we worked. If we had a M.A.C. game, especially at Coldwater or St. Henry or any of the northern schools, one of our favorite places was the South Side Inn in Coldwater.
Our Head Linesman, Larry Ullery was always in charge of getting us a spot to eat. When we went to a game at Coldwater, once the chain crew saw it was us, they would tell Larry, “Don’t worry, we got your spot at South Side.”
Dale Ary, my umpire, and I still say they have the best coleslaw in the State! Their food Is good, and the people, even if they lose, (which doesn’t happen often!) are always very friendly. It is easy to find, it is on 118 going into Coldwater from the south. Try it out!
One other spot that was a favorite if we went further north was the Red Pig in Ottawa. Unfortunately, the Red Pig has closed, so I can’t help you up in that area. The Red Pig was a great place and their pork pizza was awesome! Other spots that we liked were The Whistle Stop in Ansonia, and Cilantro’s grill in Van Wert.
When we went south and most places in the GWOC, and I mean anything south of Northmont High School and north of the Ohio River, we went to Dominic’s. Dominic’s is also no more, but their dressing on salads is still the best ever!
We did have an alternate spot and that was Marion’s Pizza. Marion’s pizza is pretty good, and their places are always clean and the pizza comes fairly quickly. Marion’s has several spots, so they were a good substitute. In Piqua, it was where 3 Joe’s Pizzaria and Trattoria is now. I can’t remember what it was called but it was good, and 3 Joes is very good too!
Most of the time we avoided fast food spots because we wanted to sit down in a quieter atmosphere so we could go over the game. A better substitute that was a little better was Fricker’s. Their food is good and they could always get us a table in a corner.
In Troy they have several good Mexican spots, one of them is La Fiesta on Main Street. Another new one is Agave and Rye. There are plenty of places to eat, so take your pick. Now that Greenville has some new Mexican spots, they have plenty of seating for a crew. I say Mexican spots because my umpire Dale Ary, LOVES Mexican. A referee always needs a good umpire, so I tried to keep him happy! There is also Buffalo Wild Wings and the Greenville store has lots of room.
A crew needs to be together as much as possible, with little turnover in people to create good game coverage and co-ordination. The after game meal, or just an adult beverage, gives the crew time to relax, think over the game, and figure out where they could have done something better.
I was fortunate that my crew stayed together a long time that is why we got good games because we were efficient together. Usually, when we got in the car together, one of us would always ask where are we going afterward! Once that was out of the way, we were ready for anything.
I am proud of the guys I worked with, as they were the best, and I always looked forward to the after game meal. It just brought us together more, and made us more efficient because we could discuss the game and how we could improve. Except for Dale, he was too involved with his burrito! (just kidding!) That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.