'A handshake can go a long way.' Player's sportsmanship makes impact on ref crew

The number of Nassau football referees is down - so the workload is up, but at the same time so is the abuse.

News 12 Staff

Dec 8, 2022, 1:31 PM

Updated 495 days ago


The number of Nassau football referees is down - so the workload is up, but at the same time so is the abuse.
John Giordano and his Nassau County crew have heard it all after working  games together for 17 seasons.  They have 113 years of experience combined - 48 years of that experience is courtesy of Tom Frost.
"I still get the butterflies in my stomach before the games every Saturday morning," says Frost.
But all of them say the abuse referees take is killing that passion and making some quit.
There used to be 26 football crews in Nassau.  Now it's down 19, and finding new refs is nearly impossible.
"All they are hearing is the bad part," says Frost. "They have to hear some of the positive things about officiating."
Cody Whalen, an all-county player on the PlainviewJFK/Jericho combined football team, is one of those positives. 
"When the ball is snapped or when the play is going, there is nothing I'm focused on more than that ball," says Cody. 
In a game last month officiated by Frost's crew, Cody had what he says was the game of his life.
"I had 254 yards, three touchdowns, eight tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and two pass breakups," he says.
Cody saved his best move for last.  It's one the refs said they rarely see these days, and they've never seen anyone do it quite like Cody.
After the game, Cody took his spot at the head of the Hawks handshake line.  and then he took off running after referee Michael Grant.
"He came at me and said, 'Hey ref, good Job,'"says Grant.
Then Cody kept running down the track, past some fans, to shake Frost's hand.
"After the game, my wife said how'd the game go. And she was shocked when I told her about this young man running up to us and how appreciative he was that we were there," says Frost.
Cody was so appreciative he gave the whole crew their proper thanks, too.
"They were a little bit surpised, so I could see that it doesn't happen too often," says Cody.
News 12's Kevin Maher asked him straight up why he did it.
"Because a hand shake can go a long way," he said.
That long way was straight to the officiating crew's hearts. They hope more people take a cue from Cody.
"It really means a lot to us," says Frost. "It was something special, it really was."
"He's raised the right way," says John Giordano. "He's going to be a leader and be successful."

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