According to the MSOA website "The Maryland Student Officials Association is a University-sponsored sport club run entirely by students that provides sports officials to the University of Maryland campus community as well as other leagues in the Washington, DC – Baltimore area. The MSOA also runs several regional sports tournaments including an annual flag football and basketball tournament." In addition to officiating on-campus events and local area league games, MSOA participates in clinics and youth outreach programs. Last weekend the club had the opportunity to officiate the Baltimore Ravens Flag Regional Tournament, an event for Baltimore area youth football players dedicated to physical fitness and teaching the sport's values on and off the field.
I had the chance to catch up with a few of the MSOA members and ask them three quick questions:
What prompted you to join MSOA?
Dan Martinez: I joined MSOA because I truly loved to officiate. I began by officiating youth basketball in my hometown and after hearing of this opportunity through intramural sports, I knew I had to join. I became friends with the previous Vice President and he told me about an opportunity to make money and referee club basketball. After officiating my first tournament, I knew I made a good decision in joining MSOA.
Dave Stewart: I was prompted to join MSOA because of the officiating opportunities and the friendship that came with that. MSOA provides several opportunities for students to officiate a wide variety of sports.
Evan Ball: I thought it would be a good leadership and opportunity to further enhance my officiating skills.
How has being involved with MSOA shaped your college career?
Dan Martinez: Joining MSOA has given me events and opportunities to stay busy during the weekend. Essentially every week, there are events going on that I am able to participate in. Also, MSOA has allowed me to become friends with people that I probably would have never met. These people are some of my good friends today and I have to thank MSOA for that.
Dave Stewart: Being involved in MSOA has allowed me to make a lot of new friends. MSOA is a very close knit group. MSOA has also allowed me to gain a lot of leadership experience. It has also allowed me to better my communication skills and my conflict management skills.
Evan Ball: Being an officer in MSOA has given me more leadership and management skills that could help prepare me for future jobs.
What does MSOA do and how can students get involved?
Dan Martinez: MSOA is a club that officiates a variety of sports. We have the ability to travel to different sites to officiate sports such as flag football, basketball, soccer, dodgeball, etc. or we can stay on campus and assist other organizations. Along with officiating, we also participate in fundraising events so we can have end of the semester social events where our entire club can participate and we like to give back to the community by doing philanthropy events.
Dave Stewart: MSOA provides officials for outside contractors. We also do fundraising and philanthropy events. In order to get involved check out our website or the CRS website.
Evan Ball: MSOA officiates numerous tournaments throughout the area, ranging from homecoming, flag football tournaments, and basketball tournaments. Any student who is familiar with a sport is welcome to participate by officiating that sport.
Sound like something you'd be interested in? Contact the club president, Dan Martinez, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Want to see the MSOA in action? Come out to watch club members officiate the 17th Annual NCCS Mid-Atlantic Regional Flag Football Championships on campus November 18-20, 2011. This year's event will feature over 50 teams from the Mid-Atlantic States and District of Columbia and there is sure to be some tough competition!