, who has been a football official for 25 years, remembers a game many years ago when one of his
colleagues was constantly being told by a coach that he
stunk.The ref did not respond until the coach referred to specifically him by name and told him, again, that he
Then the official "picked up the ball, walked upfield 15 yards, and said, ‘Hey, coach, how do I smell from here?' " LeLacheur recalls with a chuckle.
On Saturday at West Salem High School
, five referees from the Central Oregon Football Officials Association
will have the opportunity to be insulted in the playoff spotlight: the Class 2A state championship game, this year pitting Amity versus Dayton.
Being heckled by fans and berated by coaches is part of the game.Good officials learn to ignore it.
"As an official, you let the insults go unless it's personal, vindictive, or they attack your parentage," LeLacheur
Along with thick skins, officials have to realize that doing what they love isn't going to make them rich. "You don't do it for the money, trust me," said LeLacheur, who works full time as a pastor at Christian Life Center in Bend.
"You do it for the love of the sport, for the kids, and for the camaraderie of the crew." On Saturday in Salem, LeLacheur (referee), Grant Patterson of Prineville (umpire), Tim Kelly of Bend (line judge), Mark Stewart of Powell Butte (back judge) and Jim Richards of Bend (line judge) will take to the field in a game that means as much to them as it does to the players.
"Even as an official, your adrenaline gets pumping," LeLacheur
said."You get up for the game just like the kids do.You work all year long to earn the right to do playoff games."
Officials are evaluated throughout the course of the season by coaches and their peers, and the very best from each of 14 associations in Oregon are chosen for playoff and championship games.