NORMAN — Umpires and officials are not the most popular people. Their calls are always criticized and half of the people in attendance disagree with every judgment they make.
Regardless, David Gore loves being an official. The Norman resident has been one for more than three decades and has no plans of slowing down now.
Gore, 64, was recently nominated for induction into the National High School Hall of Fame. He is seeking to become the sixth person from Oklahoma to be inducted since 1982.
“Obviously I’m very humbled and honored,” Gore said. “I’ve given a lot of time and effort to high school athletics in Oklahoma. Naturally I was surprised and shocked. But at the same time it’s an honor when others recognized your efforts.”
Those who make it through the nomination process won’t find out if they are inducted until early spring, Gore said.
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association is the group which nominated Gore. He has been enrolled as a football official with OSSAA for 31 years and as a baseball umpire for 35 years. But he actually got his first taste of being an official when he was 24 and he was overseeing Little League games.
Besides his high school work, Gore has also officiated Division I baseball and basketball games.
But if he had to pick one game that sticks out to him during his long career, he said it would be any of the state championships he has worked.
“Anytime you are involved in a state championship game it’s extra exciting,” Gore said. “I’ve been in seven different state championship football games and several state baseball championships. Those are the ones you remember.”
Like many officials, Gore was an athlete first. And it was that passion to stick around the sports he loved that first led him to want to pick up a whistle.
“I have always been extremely interested in athletics,” Gore said. “I was not talented enough to play beyond high school level, but I loved athletics so much. Was involved in coaching at Norman Public schools. But to stay involved in baseball and football it was simply a way to stay involved.”
Gore was a football and basketball coach in the late-70s at West Junior High and West Mid High. He was also the Norman Public Schools athletic director from 1994-2002.
Gore retired from NPS in 2007, but not from officiating.
“I really enjoy it,” Gore said. “As long as my heath is good I will keep going. When I am no longer eager to be on the field, I will help teach and observe. There may still be several years left. It’s just one of those things I thoroughly enjoy doing.”
Michael Kinney 366-3537 firstname.lastname@example.org