This weekend, the Michigan city commissioner joined Doug Allen, Roger Burbage, John Shirey as inductees Saturday into the USATF Officials Hall of Fame — celebrated at the USATF Annual Meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nevada.
“Many people asked to get a text copy of my acceptance talk,” he wrote friends of his 940-word remarks. “I spoke from the heart and did not have a text.”
Not surprisingly, he talks of love. That’s the kind of guy he is.
Here’s how Carroll showed his appreciation:
I wish to thank Dee Jensen for successfully nominating and introducing me. Also, I wish to thank Karen Krsak for nominating me years ago. My selection is a surprise. I have spent my time as an official working where I perceive the need is greatest, not where it might be considered most prestigious.
I do not fit what I consider the normal profile of a Hall of Fame inductee. I have not won any of the individual awards being given out tonight. As I recall, I have not officiated at an Olympics Games or Trials in the USA, although I have done Olympic Trials in Canada. I have not been heavily involved in the National Officials organization but have focused on Sports Committees and officiating outside of the United States.
Hopefully my induction in the Officials Hall of Fame will open the door for other officials that do not fit the more traditional criteria of selection to the Hall of Fame.
I want to thank each of you for what you do. Many of you officiate competitions involving young people. I understand the biggest participation sport in United States high schools is athletics – the combination of track and field and cross country. When you officiate with youth, you help them get to know and discover themselves, help them learn how to face and overcome challenges, help them find ways to break personal barriers, and help them develop a mentality of a champion.
These lessons apply not only to their athletics but to their life. Your actions are helping them redefine possibilities for themselves and others. Thank you for your officiating of youth.
Many of you officiate college and open athletic competitions. These athletics are at or nearing the peak of overall human potential. When you officiate, you are helping these individuals live their dreams. You are helping them redefine human potential. You are helping them inspire and excite others.
You are helping people with different backgrounds, cultures, beliefs and approaches to life come together to compete while cooperating under a common set of rules. Your actions as an official are helping provide a model for people to come together and redefine human possibilities and life. Thank you for your part in making all this possible.
Many of you officiate masters competitions. Seeing a person in their 80s, 90s or 100s run and participate in field events, to see masters athletes break expectations in other ways, redefines human potential and possibilities for us all as we age.
When I was growing up, the expected norm for when a person got older was to retire and then lead an inactive life. This has changed in the past few decades and much has been inspired by the possibilities demonstrated by masters athletics. Their actions show them that we all can live an active life.
When you officiate masters athletics, you are also influencing the future of open athletics. Masters held the first world athletics championship prior to the IAAF, which then followed the masters example. By the time of the second masters world championship, women could participate in virtually all the events offered to men – it took the IAAF many years to catch up.
Speaking of participation of women, the current president, executive vice president and secretary of World Masters Athletics are women. IAAF, now World Athletics, has yet to have a woman in its top leadership positions. Masters are again showing the way.
Many of you may not realize it, but the largest athletics track and field event each year in terms of participants is the World Master Athletics world championships. The open World Championships, the Olympics and other open events have more prestige, but masters have more participants at its major meets. In most major road races around the world, the bulk of the participants are masters.
Thank you for supporting masters. What you are doing is being part of a social movement that opens possibilities for all of us. Your officiating is important.
Many of you officiate para athletics events. These athletes redefine human possibilities. I have seen a person with no arms throw a shot, a person in a throwing chair throwing a discus further than most top collegiate athletes, a person with one leg disappointed in only high jumping 7-2¼ and a fully blind person running down a long jump runway, missing the pit and getting back up and running down again and jumping successfully.
At the last Paralympics, four visually impaired Paralympians ran the 1500 meters faster than the Olympic champion. Your officiating directly helps Paralympic athletes inspire and excite the world, break expectations and redefine human possibilities. You enrich their lives and help us all find common humanity despite perceived limitations.
In many countries without a Disabilities Act or other support for persons with disabilities, Para Athletics is a powerful tool in social change in those countries for helping people with severe disabilities. Thank you for your officiating. You are instrumental in social change.
Each official has specific reasons why they officiate, but they all boil down to “love.” Some of you officiate for the love of the sport. Some for the love of giving back to the sport. Some for love of helping others. Some for love of being part of something greater than yourselves.
Some for shared friendship or other reasons of love. In many sports, officials can make a living in officiating. In athletics, few can even break even in athletics officiating. Yours is a service of love, not a service of profit or external reward. Thank you for your service.
It is very gratifying to know that one’s actions are and have had a positive impact on others. My selection to the Hall of Fame is much appreciated. Thank you.
Contribute to support independent track and field journalism: