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Official Fitness Test

Monday, July 28, 2014

Part 1: Football Officials Fitness Test

Although I am not sure why, I have been a high school football official for 16 years. For the first 14 of those 16 years, the Colorado Football Official Association ("CFOA") pretty much ignored physical fitness. I suspect that the Colorado High School Activities Association ("CHSAA"), which is the governing body for all high school sports in Colorado, decided that sports officials should be in some semblance of physical shape.

Yesterday, July 26th, was the first football officials meeting of the 2014 season. This meeting is called the "Master's Clinic'. At this meeting we are told about new rules and points-of-emphasis. For the past several years, points-of-emphasis have been on player safety.

We also have to pass a physical fitness test. We always have the Master's Clinic at a high school. Last year we all had to run a 1/4 mile in under 2 minutes and 30 seconds (2:30) and a 40 yard dash in under 12 seconds. A lot of officials did not pass this test. I ran the 1/4 mile in 1:24 and to 40 yard dash in a tad under 7 seconds. In other words, I passed with time to spare.

Part 2: New Test for 2014 - Agility and Flexibility

This year the directors of the CFOA decided to make the fitness test easier and concentrate on agility and flexibility. The directors decided on 130 yard shuttle run. Here is a diagram of the shuttle run.

Prior to starting, we placed one of our bean bags on the 15 yard line, and another bean bag on the 50 yard line. Bean bags are used as an aid for ball spotting during a game.

Here are the details of the fitness test:

(1) Start on the goal line;
(2) At the word "go", sprint to the 15 yard line and pick up the bean bag;
(3) Sprint back to the goal and place the bean bag on the line;
(4) Sprint to the 50 yard line and pick up the bean bag; and
(5) Sprint back to the goal line.

The clock starts at the work "go" and ends when the goal line is crossed while carrying the "50 yard line" bean bag. Any official that takes longer than 40 seconds to do the shuttle run is given a "failing" grade and is ineligible to work Varsity games.

There is a re-test in two weeks at the second meeting for those officials that failed this test.

I was worried that my right ankle could not take the strain of running and stopping. My right ankle went through reconstructive surgery on January, 31st. My ankle is okay but not 100%. I was wearing turf shoes so I wouldn't slide. I was concerned that my right ankle would give way.

As I stood on the line with 6 other officials I was worried. 130 yards seemed like a long distance. I was also concerned that the fitness test required stopping and reversing directions 4 times!

I was in the first heat. I was also the oldest guy standing on the goal line by a minimum of 20 years. I had no idea if I could pass the test. The Starter said, "Get ready - GO!"

I took off as fast as I could go. I ran to the 15 yard line. As I approached the bean bag, I pivoted on my left foot and quickly planted both feet sideways. I ended-up looking directly down the 15 yard line. My right foot was slightly beyond the line and my left foot was a few feet in front of the line. I timed this move so I could just reach the bean bag with my right hand. I scooped-up the bean bag, pushed off on my right foot. In a cat's eyeball blink, I was sprinting back toward the goal line.

I was in front of the pack when I got back to the goal line. I used the same quick sideways move to put the bean bag on the goal line. I then ran down to the 50 yard line to pick up the next bag. I used the quick sideways move at the 50 yard line and shot back toward the finish line. I got passed by one young guy at about the 20 yard line.

As I approached the finish line that timer was counting off the seconds since the start. I was amazed to hear the timer shout 21.. 22.. 23. I crossed the finish line at 24 seconds! I was just a second behind the fastest guy.

I was pretty happy. My right ankle held-up; I blazed trough the test; and I didn't pull any muscles!

Part 3: Plateau

After my initial 15 pound weigh loss, I hit a plateau. However, I am getting stronger and more fit. I did a long, and somewhat brutal, mountain bike ride yesterday. My clothes are fitting better so I am not going to get in a twist about stalling-out.

I forgot just how challenging dropping weight can be.

Thanks for reading my blog.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • GHK1962
    Wow ... that sounds like it was NOT a cakewalk ... and the fact that you did awesome is ... well ... AWESOME!

    That pivot -push off turn around move sounds pretty cool dude. Did anyone ask you about that after?
    1664 days ago
    Nice results on your fitness test! Guess your ankle is fine after your surgery, probably nice for you to know. emoticon
    1665 days ago
    I wonder how they are coming up with what your physical tests and acceptable results are supposed to be? It sounds a little haphazard right now, but I am sure they will eventually find some balance between a meaningful test and keeping enough officials to man the games.

    Great job for an "old" guy!
    1667 days ago
    Old guys rock!

    Great job on the fitness test and the weight loss. The plateau will break in its own time.
    1667 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/28/2014 4:56:42 PM
    Congratulations on acing the test and that your ankle did so well during it! Don't worry about the scale if the other things are improving. Keep going strong!
    1667 days ago
  • BA5454
    emoticon Your test sounds harder than my test in the Air Force (timed sit-ups and push-ups and a run). Way to go on passing it! You rock, Bruce!
    1667 days ago
    emoticon I am so happy your ankle was happy!!
    1667 days ago
    Wow... great job! Showing up all those younger guys :-) Well, you did say you were an impossibly fast runner. Glad the ankle held up!

    Interesting that the athletic association never stopped to think about safety and fitness for their officials. I don't watch much football, but I do attend soccer games and those officials get run over or knocked around by players at least a couple of times in every match. Considering how many times you've been injured even though you are apparently in much better shape than many other officials, it makes sense they finally started paying attention. If for no other reason, they have to protect themselves from liability. But better for you too.

    I hope you have a great, productive football season, and NO MORE INJURIES! emoticon
    1668 days ago
    Way to go, Dawg! Plateaus are tough, especially when you are very near your goal. But your level of fitness is great- good to not be obsessed by the scale. My son is a hockey referee. Being a sports official is quite the challenging job.
    1668 days ago
    Nice job and very interesting - I am pleased to see that the officials must be able to "walk the talk".

    In my experience as a mom of 2 (now adult) active males I have seen some coaches and officials that didn't appear to be in shape to go out and pick up the newspaper!
    1668 days ago
  • DEW1960

    Don't worry too much about plateaus, your success is not defined by the scale alone.

    You are doing great!

    Daniel Walker

    1668 days ago
    I love this blog! You did awesome! Great job figuring out how to maneuver the turns! I bet it felt great to beat the younger folks!! emoticon
    1668 days ago
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