I've been studying football rules for more than 20 years. And while the game seems to be played the same at all levels, I have to admit there are some subtle aspects of the game that I still may miss.

Recently, I was officiating a youth football game during which a young coach introduced a new play. As it developed, it took me a few seconds to realize that his team had performed a play that was illegal. My fellow officials and I threw our flags.

Just as I was about to walk off the penalty, the coach called for a conference. He was a rather smug soul, so I knew he had something in mind.

He asked, “What's the rule number of the infraction that you called?” I didn't have a clue. He then asked if I had a rule book with me. I said I didn't.

Then he told tell me I was not a very good official because I didn't know the number and I couldn't provide proof of my claim. He offered me his rule book to verify his point. I had the feeling I was being set up. So I said, “Sure, show me the rule book.”

The coach pulled out his NFL rule book, where he had a special page marked.

After the coach finished, I said I agreed with everything he had said. But I added that there was a major problem with his argument. This league doesn't follow NFL rules; it follows High School Federation rules. So his rule book didn't have any standing in my decision.

First I walked off the five-yard penalty for my initial call. Then I tossed the coach and marked off an additional penalty to his team. So much for smugness.

I hope the coach learned that it's important for everyone in the game to have a set of common rules and guidelines.

Fortunately for our industry, the leadership of the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association also believes in the concept of fair play. For the past two and half years, a dedicated band of hardworking men and women have been toiling to establish a set of ASTM standards concerning the quality of their product and its use.

I've sat in a number of these committee meetings. And it seems that in a few more meeting cycles, their work will result in several new standards for our industry.

It's a sign of the times that adhered veneer masonry is part of ASTM C-15. This same committee provides specifications for brick and concrete units. There was a time not too long ago when many industry traditionalists viewed adhered masonry veneer as the enemy.

To meet customer demands, mason contractors are expanding the scope of their work to include many more aspects of a project than in the past. Our contractors do their best when they are judged by fair rules and consistent performance requirements. A set of ASTM standards that is consistent with other masonry materials and practices will help ensure that masonry is viewed as a quality building material.

To learn more about the Masonry Veneer Manufacturers Association's efforts, visit www.masonryveneer.org.