Uncommon opportunities for high profit and high reward

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With college and student loans right around the corner for high school students, the rush to save money is a tiring process. Some students will get a part-time job: babysitting, bagging, retail, lawn mowing, or even dog walking. However, an option that most don’t think about, is to become a referee or umpire.

Youth referees and umpires often don’t get much recognition, but it’s a great way to make some extra cash. Plus, it can be beneficial for learning more about the sport, or just life skills in general.

Freshmen Frankie Carter and Ellie Wintringer both had experience with their respective sports prior to refereeing and umpiring. Carter, a referee, started partly because her siblings had refereed before, but also because she herself enjoys playing soccer.

“I started ‘reffing’ about 2 years ago and it was mainly because I had seen my older siblings doing it and what they gained from it, like the experience, not only the money that came with it but also like what they learned from doing it,” Carter said.

Helping to instruct others has not only helped her learn more about the game, but also a lot of skills that helped prepare for the real world. Decisiveness is an extremely important part of the job, and without being able to have an opinion and stick with it, becoming a referee or umpire is a struggle. Carter finds it beneficial to real-world problems or challenges.

“In these situations, you have the power and are controlling the game,” Carter said. “You have a lot of adults on the sidelines, like the parents or coaches that are telling you that you made the wrong call, or that you’re messing up, or you suck, or you missed a fowl. You kind of has to learn to go with your gut and deal with people like those in a way that you still respect them.”

Every time a call is made, someone is upset. The most important thing when refereeing, according to Carter, is just to know all the rules. By remembering the rules, the call is valid and it’s allowed, so it becomes easier to focus less on the upset parents or coaches, and more on making the right call.

“I definitely learned a lot about responsibility and not only having the power of controlling the game but how you have to deal with all of the coaches and making sure the players are having fun but they’re still safe. It’s just a lot of different things that go into it,” Carter said.

Wintringer, who was a youth umpire, started for a different reason, mostly because it paid well and didn’t take much qualification other than knowing the game and rules.

“I started umpiring last summer because I needed a summer job because I had no money. They pay a lot per game, so I made $295 in seven games,” Wintringer said.

Like Carter, she definitely felt the stress and pressure of essentially being in control of the game. Luckily she had experience beforehand with the game, but she said that if she hadn’t, it would’ve been much harder.

“It made me want to quit, so I quit,” Wintringer said. “I’ve been playing softball for nine years, but I never really realized what they [umpires] had to do. It gave me a profound appreciation for umpires because that is a stressful job, and having people yell at you is not fun.”