By Jeremy Redmon
Jim Carboneau had a near perpetual grin on the field, even during some of the more tense periods of the men’s lacrosse games he officiated at this year’s Vail Shootout. Jethro Mills deadpanned funny one-liners with his fellow officials during breaks. And at one halftime, Rob Wyman rubbed his hands together as he jokingly told his crew, “We have them right where we want them.”
All veteran lacrosse officials, Carboneau, Mills and Wyman bring essential elements to the game: humor, confidence and strong field presence. Those things can’t be taught in a classroom. They must be learned on the field. With decades of experience mastering the rules and mechanics of officiating lacrosse, these men simultaneously project ease and command respect from the players and coaches.
I got to see that up close after volunteering to officiate some post-collegiate men’s club games with them at this year’s Shootout in stunningly picturesque Vail, Colo. For example, I saw the calm, controlled demeanor Rodney Meyer had on the field. He was unobtrusive when the game flowed around him and demonstrative when he needed to make important calls. And I saw the compliance Charlie Obermayer secured from the athletes. Players profusely apologized to him after he expertly broke up a scuffle among them.
My experience in Vail reminded me how helpful it can be to get outside of my home state of Georgia and learn from others with different skills and experiences. I completed Lacrosse Referee Development Training (LAREDO) 2 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Florida in 2011 and LAREDO 3 at the University of Michigan in 2012. Largely focused on rules and mechanics, these US Lacrosse training sessions were extremely helpful for me. In some ways, my trip to Vail was like LAREDO 4 — training focused on the intangibles. And I’ll never forget it. Now I can’t wait to bring what I have learned to the field back home.
Jeremy Redmon is a journalist based in the Atlanta area and a collegiate certified lacrosse official. Redmon officiated his first Georgia high school championship game this year. He is also the president of the Atlanta Inferno Lacrosse Club, a men’s team that competes in the southeast.