Officially Official – Stephanie Arnold

Welcome to the first installment of Officially Official.

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I am Stephanie.  A 28-year-old wife, dog-mom and sports lover.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve always played sports.  I started out playing soccer, and as I got older, I tried other sports.  Since I hit my growth spurt early on, I was always one of the taller kids, so naturally, I played basketball and volleyball, but only lasted a few seasons.  As I grew older, soccer was one of the sports that I always loved playing. I played a little competitive soccer and also played in high school. My sophomore year, during my club season, – I distinctly remember it being a gloomy day, and we didn’t have enough players and the other team didn’t want to play down any players, so I believe it was 9v11 – I played sweeper/keeper.  A breakaway happened and she was coming back towards my goal, to which I decided to make a move and come at her. As I tried to get the ball from her, I ended up kicking her straight across her leg and snapping my tib-fib. I am quite an aggressive player and getting hurt is something that isn’t new to me or the family. I remember my mom driving leisurely to the hospital, stopping at every yellow light, and nonchalantly asking for a wheelchair, all with the assumption that there was nothing wrong.  I remember sitting in the ER, making them take off my brand new shin guards rather than cutting them, and hearing the doctor and my mother from outside the room say “Yep, it’s broken.” I was in a full-length cast for about 6 weeks, half-cast for another 3 and a boot for a few more.

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After my recovery, I decided to play lacrosse for my junior and senior year.  It was a new sport for me as well as the school (it was a district-wide team.) When I went off to college, I was on my own, I had to figure out what sports to play.  Then the sport of hockey was ‘reintroduced’ to me to play. I had a pair of ice skates, but that was about it. I bought all new gear and started to play co-ed rec hockey in Gunnison, Colorado.   My junior year of my undergrad, I ended up playing the inaugural season of Women’s Ice Hockey at Western State Colorado University (WSC). Ever since then, I’ve been playing hockey and I love it! When I moved back to Denver, I played with Denver Women’s Hockey League (DWHL) and eventually was asked to play competitive hockey for a D-League women’s team for the Women’s Association of Colorado Hockey (WACH).  To this day, I play hockey and indoor soccer.

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I am not only a participant, but I am also a coach. September 2017 was my first-year coaching anything.  I was the Assistant coach for the U10 Boulder Bison Girl’s hockey team. It was a learning experience for me.  Thankfully, I had two amazing coaches to help me develop myself as a coach, and as a person. It was a lot of hours, miles, and drama, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.  We were able to coach the girls to win a State Championship! Spring 2018, I picked up a U12 girls soccer team, and we’re on the same track!

I have a very competitive nature.  It’s in my blood – seriously, our family reunions are based on Olympic-style games.  This last weekend, my father’s side of the family gathered at Fort Robinson, Nebraska for a family reunion that happens every 3 years.  There are 5 siblings who make up the Scheuring Family, so there are 5 families that come together. In the 3 short days, we all play a series of games to compete for the trophy and bragging rights for the next three years.  Every reunion, every family takes turns taking responsibility for a part of the weekend (accommodations, games, or shirts) and it was my 2nd cousin and my turn to come up with the games. This means we create the games, make the rules, and implement the rules.  It was a lot of fun! Seeing my family all try to defrost frozen socks using only their body is just about as funny as you think it is! Being a referee in this game is brutal. Everyone who has done it can attest that that job is the hardest. Enforcing the rules for 50 people can be tough, watching 50 people for cheating is tough, telling a team they didn’t follow the rules and is disqualified is tough.  I learned something even more valuable during this weekend as a referee, people really show their true colors during games. As competitive as I am, sportsmanship is absolutely one huge characteristic that everyone should have. I always tell the girls I coach “We win with grace, we play with grace and we lose with grace.” It was astonishing to see the reactions, the verbal abuse, the manipulation that people can make just to get ahead.  At the end of it all, I just wanted to shout “I am a person, too. I have feelings, too. I don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

The reason I wanted to start this blog was to highlight the people who really make the games I love so much, happen.  In every sport that I have played or watched, there is always one thing that’s consistent – an official. They’re the people that get the most flack and the last recognition.  It’s their time!

Every other week, I will introduce you to an official, umpire, or referee of any sport.  You will get a snippet into their lives on and off the field, pitch, ice, court, or wherever the sport is played.   Next week, we go across the pond with a football referee…stay tuned!

Because without them, sports would be, well… Unofficial.

3 thoughts on “Officially Official – Stephanie Arnold

  1. This was a GREAT article! Can’t wait for your next one. If you need some refs to interview I have some in my neighborhood. A lacrosse and a couple softball refs.

    Keep on writing!

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  2. Love this! My 11 year old plays baseball and I am always amazed at how disrespectful coaches or parents can be to one another or to the officials. Thanks for reminding everyone they are human as well! We should be setting examples for our kids and they should be taught grace in every aspect of the game.

    Good luck with the blog. Very creative idea.

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  3. I umpired traveling baseball for a number of years from high school until after college. There were plenty of times I got yelled at, demeaned, it criticized. It’s unfortunate, but I found quite a bit of joy in watching the kids play. You find unbridled excitement in the kid who may not be the best getting that important hit, or you appreciate the dedication to their sport/team when they walk off the field in defeat. This will be a fun blog to read as you talk to officials in different sports and different levels. I look forward to it!

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