By Sam Bailey / Staff Writer
Zach Shanline, a Pratt freshman, has been making a name for himself in the world of officiating for the past several years.
One of his most recent accomplishments has been starting The Officiating Club at Hutchinson Community College. This week, The Collegian sat down with Shanline to find out more about his officiating career and how he plans to continue his line of work.
Hutchinson Collegian: How long have you been officiating?
Zackary Shanline: I’ve been officiating since I was 14 years old. I started out with little kid tee-ball, but I’ve been KSHSAA registered in football for three years.
HC: What sports and at what levels have you officiated?
ZS: I’m registered in football, basketball, (and) baseball. I started out doing varsity football when I was a junior, (that was) my first varsity game, and this year was the first year I’ve had a full varsity schedule. I’ve done everything up to 6A football. I’ve done just little kid basketball baseball, but football is the one I’ve really progressed in.
HC: What is your favorite sport to officiate?
ZS: Football is definitely my favorite. (It’s) my favorite because I am a part of a team. In football you have a crew that works every week together and the relationships that you build are so rewarding. We work so much together that we are able to understand our partner’s tendencies and develop such a strong trust with each other on the field, and the camaraderie is always fun to be a part of.
HC: What made you become interested in officiating?
ZS: It started out by me wanting to make money, but I found out I was actually good at it, and I could make more money doing bigger games. I (also) had more and more people ask me to do bigger games and I worked my way up. I fell in love with it, I really did.
HC: Was there ever a time when you didn’t like officiating?
ZS: There’s always times where it’s hard, when you’re getting scrutinized and yelled at, but there’s never a time where you hate it.
HC: What are your long-term officiating goals?
ZS: I’d love to make it to the NCAA in football. That would be the goal, and if the right doors open at the right times, make it to the NFL, but that would be very tough. As far as basketball and baseball, I’d love to stay at the high school level and continue working (those games).
HC: Does your officiating connection affect the way you watch sports?
ZS: Oh absolutely. I don’t watch sports because of the players, I watch sports because of the officials all the time. I’m watching the officials and learning from the officials. I always have people ask me about calls, about rules, and about everything. I enjoy sports as an official now rather than a fan or even a former player.
HC: Do you wish you could go back to watching sports the way you did before becoming an official?
ZS: Nope. Nope, I love it so much more watching as an official and knowing what it’s like on the field.
HC: You recently started the officiating club here on campus. What gave you the idea to do this? ZS: It’s an idea I’ve had for a long time. It’s not just something that was a spur of the moment thing. It kind of spurred from (Kansas) State’s program that they have, they have an organization that hires officials. (Plus) just seeing that there’s a problem in Kansas and all over the nation with the lack of officials and wanting to do something about it and get more involved. Through this I’ve met more of my own connections and been able to talk to so many more people. Join the officiating club. It’s worth it. You’ll make a lot of money, have a lot of fun, and meet a lot of good people.