Lady Ref

Lady Ref

by Shannon Eastin
Setting: United States
Genres: Personal Memoirs
Published on September 24, 2023
Pages: 224
Format: eBook Source: Library

The eye-opening and inspiring memoir of Shannon Eastin, the first female official for the NFL Shannon Eastin was used to breaking new ground. As a teenager, she was a six-time national judo champion before women were allowed to compete in her sport in the Olympics. Years later, she became the first female Division I football referee. But when she set her sights on officiating in the NFL, nothing could fully prepare her for the obstacles that would be thrown in her way. In Lady Ref: Making Calls in a Man's World, Eastin candidly shares the struggles she faced throughout her journey to the pros. Dealing with sexual harassment, apparent sabotage, and blatant misogyny, there were times Eastin wondered if it was worth it, if perhaps it would be better to quit. But a return to her faith would ultimately help her hold onto her dreams, and when the full-time NFL officials were locked out, Eastin found her opening into the pros. Eastin's cap and whistle now rest in the NFL Hall of Fame, a testament to the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that went into her groundbreaking rise up the officiating ranks. Her eye-opening story reflects the relentless battles women have fought--and continue to fight--working in fields often perceived as a man's domain, while also celebrating those who have supported these trailblazers in their journeys.

This was an interesting story that unfortunately wasn’t told very well.

Shannon Eastin has lived many lives. She had a full athletic career in judo before she graduated from high school. Then she married young and became a pastor’s wife. After her divorce, she started refereeing for football and basketball.

I didn’t know what was involved in becoming a ref. She describes how she rose through the ranks from kid’s scrimmages to high school to college football. That was where she hit a glass ceiling despite performing well in clinics in front of scouts.

She was ready to give up on being an NFL ref when she got a break. Now, I totally disagree with what she did but I see her reasoning. She crossed the picket lines when the refs were on strike. You never do that. But she did and she only got the chance to officiate in the NFL because they were desperate for experienced officials. Once the strike was over she was out. She was also blacklisted because of it.

She showed that women could work at that level though and now there is one other woman officiating in the NFL. I guess something good came out of it but I still say you never cross picket lines.