Clint Bond has a great piece on the US Lacrosse website entitled “What’s in your bag?” He offers some great tips on how to organize your equipment and highlights the list of must haves for every lacrosse official. I thought that I would add my two cents to the conversation.
I too use a carry-on roller bag for my gear. The wheels make it easy to get around and it is just big enough to handle all of my cold weather and rain gear, an extra pair of shoes, both long and short sleeve shirts. I often pack the equipment I am less likely to use in the side and upper pockets; I want it with me, but out of the way. For my flags, whistles, cards and coins, I use a men’s Dopp kit (aka toiletry bag). When I work summer and fall tournaments, I often use a backpack. It is easier to move from field to field throughout the day, has a spot for my water bottle, some power bars and a change of clothes.
In my association, the crew calls the Referee to confirm time, date and location of the game as well as what the uniform will be. Having a bag large enough for everything allows me to bring an duplicates of everything just in case my partner accidently left something at home. I often find myself working with younger officials who are unsure as to whether they want to invest the expensive required equipment. Last season I decided to purchase a second 20 second timer. I keep it with me as a backup and in case my partner does not have one. You can build up the list over time. No need to purchase two of everything. Just don’t throw away your old flags, shirt or hat.
I cannot stress enough how important Bond’s list is, but there is no reason to spend a ton of money on these items. You can often find travel size versions of sunscreen, first aid sewing kit, at the grocery store or pharmacy. That being said, many of these items can be cobbled together from stuff you already have around the house. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just functional.
Here are a few things I have added to my bag.
- Cap Washer: these are great for washing your hat in the dish washer, and you can clip with a small carabineer it to your travel bag so your cap can dry out.
- Razor and Shaving Cream: you get one chance to make a first impression.
- Black Electrical Tape: great for fixing your whistle or timer if it snaps and you can use it to cover up the top of your flags.
- Hair Ties: I ruthlessly steal these from my wife. They are great to wrap around your score card and hold your pencil. Stronger, thicker and more durable than rubber bands, they will hold your card in place as your run down the field.
- Zip Ties: these are invaluable when repairing holes in nets. You can pick up a bag at your local hardware store. I often stick a few in my back pocket when doing games just in case. It’s a lot faster than tracking down an assistant coach.
- Mr. Clean Miracle Eraser: This product is absolutely amazing. Use it instead of an eraser to clean your score card. You won’t believe it until you use it.
- Cones: I carry a set of small orange cones. These I tend to keep in the trunk of the car. You never know, and it is very difficult to determine end line vs. side line calls and off sides without them!
- Shout Wipes: Tough to be taken seriously when you covered in mustard.
- Sunscreen: I use the aerosol spray can. The secret here is reapply, reapply, reapply.
- Index Cards: these are great for writing notes, game reports, your contact information, and in a pinch as Certification cards when you run out.
- W-9: Keep a few blank w-9 forms in a Ziploc bag. You never know when you will need to fill one out to get paid.
- Pen: keep a pen around in order to fill out your Certification Cards, W-9s, game reports etc.
- Travel Size Gold Bond Powder: self-explanatory
If you have any ideas, thought or comments, please let us know!