Nelson helps out by officiating soccer |

Nelson helps out by officiating soccer

“Kill the Ump” used to be a joke in the world of sports. But sadly these days it seems that saying isn’t as funny any more.

With the stakes in the world of sports becoming as high as ever – and with that atmosphere making its way down to the high school level – it’s just not as easy to find people who are willing to provide their services as officials in prep sports as it used to be.

It’s gotten so bad in high school soccer this year that two full-time members of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association staff, assistant directors Donnie Nelson and Jay Beesemyer are officiating Northern Nevada high school soccer games this fall.

It’s been more than 20 years since Nelson has officiated soccer, but he has returned to the sport to bring attention to the need for soccer officials. Among his upcoming games will be at Carson High on Sept. 15 when the Senator boys and girls teams host South Tahoe.

It will be a difficult week for the CHS teams. Carson’s teams will be playing in a tournament in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from Tuesday through Thursday and then will return for Saturday’s games.

“It’s not a second career,” Nelson said. “I’m just filling in the holes. I’m just helping out.”

Nelson said he’s noticed a difference in the atmosphere while officiating games today as opposed when he last officiated. He said the attitude that comes with the professional sports fan has made its way down to the lower levels.

“That trickled down to the college level,” Nelson said. “That mentality unfortunately is starting to trickle down to the high school level. It’s a different environment.”

And the pressure to win is more prevalent at the high school level more than ever before as well.

“It is a business and that’s changed things, too,” Nelson said. “That’s part of life and the evolution of high school sports.”

Nelson said he received so much grief from one parent after a game that he wanted to turn to the parent and say, “Here’s the whistle, here’s my cards, here you go. We need officials.”

But Nelson said for the most part he’s enjoyed officiating. “I wouldn’t be doing this,” said Nelson if he didn’t enjoy it. “It’s fun. It’s good to be back on the field again.”

Nelson, though, won’t be on the field for long. Next month, he’ll be too busy with the postseasons beginning in other sports to officiate.

“We actually need officials in all sports,” Nelson said. “I think more and more people are backing away from officiating because of the guff they get out there. We have so many good officials. We just need more of them.”

While other sports have been able to fill their schedules, there’s still a need for soccer officials for this season, Nelson said. And there’s always next year. “We’re going to be in the same situation next year if not worse,” Nelson said.

Anyone who wishes to officiate in any sport can call the NIAA office, 688-6464.


It’s the 10th annual year for the Western Nevada College/Greater Nevada Credit Union Golf Classic, and in that time it’s grown from a tournament beginning with just a few people, well just looking to begin a tournament, to one of the most look forward to in Northern Nevada.

And it’s easy to find the benefits from the tournament. The college’s planetarium, the baseball and women’s soccer teams and numerous students who have received scholarships are just a few of the college’s many special projects that have received funds from the event.

“Now it’s pretty much the best golf tournament in Northern Nevada and I truly believe that,” said Richard Finn, who serves on the tournament’s committee and is a Western Nevada criminal justice professor. “It’s just amazing for the college, just to get the college on the map.”

“It’s just a great tournament,” said Mark Sattler, another tournament committe member. “It always has great support from the community. It’s a neat thing for the city.”

Sattler and Finn both credit Western Nevada vice president Helaine Jesse for the tournament’s success.

“Helaine does a phenomenal job,” Sattler said. “She has just done an incredible job,” Finn said. “It’s just amazing what she’s done.”

This year’s tournament will be held Monday, Sept. 17 at Thunder Canyon and will have a new feature, a “poker run” in which one golfer will receive a bundle of cash.

Players will receive a playing card at each par three hole and the person with the best poker hand at the end of the tournament will be the winner.

Golfers will tee off at 9 a.m. in a four-person, scramble format. Participants will enjoy a continental breakfast, on-course refreshments, and an awards barbecue.

Sponsorship opportunities include featuring the organization’s name in the event program, banners at the events sponsored, event announcements and promotional materials. Donations are also being sought, including drawing items and door prizes.

The entry fee is $800 for business teams, and $150 for individual golfers. To sign up, sponsor, or donate, call the WNC Foundation, (775) 445-3240.