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Old Fri Nov 08, 2019, 04:06pm
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What season # is this for you? Retirement Looming?

This is long but I'd love to hear your story and your thoughts...something outside the rules discussion that has been and is always so helpful here...

This is season #21 for me...I've spent my officiating time at the Middle School and sub varsity level by choice...I've worked with youth leagues that I've been a Board Member of and a Coach in, helping grow their leagues and helping younger officials get started or helping other Coaches (cause we all start somewhere).

I've worked the AAU tourney scene, school travel leagues, MS/JrHS and HS....I've worked a handful of V contests in this time where some guys, that's all they'll do. I like my schedule of JV and below where I don't have to be there so early and I can get done a little after 7p for Frosh or JV and be on with my evening...maybe that means I can watch a good V contest of a kid I coached or simply know from this crazy game!

I can't always say I have "good quality basketball" games as compared to V level...but I have seen my share of really well played games at any level I've done and I have had some stinker V teams as well. I've seen some 8th grade teams that could beat some JV teams...I officiated cause I LOVE the game and whatever grade or level I was doing, I have always given my all and taken it serious.

There were times where the money was necessary (downsized out of FT work a few times early on)...I got divorced 10 years ago and the ref money helped me make ends meet thanks to a whopper of child support obligation...I never wanted to do it for the money, but I wouldn't do it for free.

When I was starting out, I worked a ton of whatever I could get....Now (and for the past few years) I'm more selective about what I'll work because I don't wanna work 6-8 games in a multi-court facility on Saturday and Sunday or 3-4 games around coaching my kid's team on a weekend day. There's also the physical side of it...my body, (knees in particular) are SHOT!

For about the past 3 seasons, at season's end my current wife has heard me say..."I'm not sure how much longer I can do this"....and then I'd take time away, go coach AAU and help train kids in the spring and forget about the physical toll. Fall rolls around and the stripes get put on again...

I had my first HS game of the season this past Tuesday and my knees have been killing me since....AND it was a 3-man crew!

I've never given more than a quick thought at the end of the season to the idea of this reffing thing actually coming to an end but I have thought about it more and more lately....

With a SR in HS and child support obligation finally having a light at the end of the tunnel (about 3 more years)...I figure I need to get her through 2 years of school and then...who knows? If physically able, I think I'd keep doing it...

So I toss this out to you guys/gals....

We hear about the professional athlete retiring and it's said, they should be able to go out on their terms....I'm no professional athlete and I'll miss this more than any fan, gym, coach or league will miss my striped ass running up and down the floor, that's for sure!

How do you know if it's time...How do we know we have called our last game? I've worked one youth league for 20 seasons, I can't imagine what my Jan-March Saturdays will be like not showing up to help this league, get some run and make a little money doing this craft! I was on their board, I coached in the league..I know everyone there...Watched kids from 3rd grade grow up to 11th grade playing...

I don't owe anybody a 2 week notice for any of this but...Do you tell them (your ref partners, leagues etc) at the start of the year at the end, or somewhere in the middle?

For some reason this is weighing on my mind because I know my end is nearing and if God forbid, I tear a knee up, or the tendonitis or the bursitis in my hip becomes too much this year, I know it likely will be or could be the end.... and mentally, I don't know if ready to face that fact.

I know I can always land a spot on a bench and that part keeps a smile on my face...

Father time is undefeated and I believe he is sitting in the top row of my gym waiting to make his way down to the score table to collect my whistle at some point sooner than later....cause I won't make it 21 more seasons...maybe 3, maybe....

You?
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Old Fri Nov 08, 2019, 04:29pm
LRZ LRZ is offline
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"How do you know if it's time?"

When I can't get up and down the court the way I should and/or when it is no longer enjoyable. At my age (70), the physical demands are increasingly difficult to meet, and I will not become "that guy" who can't keep up. This might be my last year for basketball and soccer, maybe another year of baseball.

I began officiating, off and on, in 1980-1981.

Last edited by LRZ; Sat Nov 09, 2019 at 11:33am.
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Old Fri Nov 08, 2019, 06:44pm
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Bone Spur And Arthritis ...

I keep getting older and the players stay the same age, does that seem fair to you?

Forty years for me.

I developed a bone spur and arthritis in my right ankle a few years ago that physical therapy didn't help. A little less than year ago I worked a scrimmage and decided that I just couldn't get up and down the court as well as I would have liked to in a varsity game and turned my entire varsity schedule back to my assignment commissioner, reasoning that it just wasn't fair for the players and for my partners. Too bad, mentally I was at the top of my game, exuding confidence on the court, and getting great ratings from my partners, and from observers.

Coincidentally, at that same time I retired from my day job (fans had been yelling at me for years, "Don't give up your day job"), and became available for mid-afternoon middle school and high school freshman games, games when there is a lack of available officials.

I like these assignments. My assignment commissioner keeps me close to home for these low level games, almost all of my games last season were in contiguous towns (no long drives through rush hour traffic). No need for me to stay after my middle school game to observe the guys in the next game, or get there early to observe the game before mine (one and done, there is no "other" game). I'm almost always home in time for dinner. I get to unofficially mentor young officials. Low level coaches seem to like having a veteran work their games (I know that I did back when I was coaching middle school basketball). And I get the same fee as a junior varsity game, all sub-varsity fees are $63.89.

Eventually I'll have to get completely off the court (I'm now nursing a knee problem that's kept me out of the gym for a few days), and when that happens I'll still belong to my local board, maybe serving on training committees, or maybe just to selling raffle tickets for a door prize to guys as they walk into meetings.

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Last edited by BillyMac; Sat Nov 09, 2019 at 06:11pm.
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Old Fri Nov 08, 2019, 10:56pm
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I started officiating late in life, at 37 years old. This is my 19th season of high school basketball, 17th season of junior college basketball with a few seasons missing, and 12th season of NCAA basketball.

I plan on eliminating high school basketball after this season so that my 20th season of officiating is only working college basketball.

I don't know what I'm going to do after that 20th season yet. My joints are taking a beating and I have it arthritic knee that I refuse to get a shot in. I'm 6 foot 5 and 260 lb, so that is a lot of pounding running up and down the court. I have a goal of making the national D3 tournament and/or my D2 conference tournament, but I won't hang around for that if my body can't handle it.

it is possible that after I retire from college basketball I may still do some high school basketball.

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Last edited by Raymond; Fri Nov 08, 2019 at 11:01pm.
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Old Sat Nov 09, 2019, 09:53am
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I'm an old fart (71 years young) who returned to officiating late. This will be my 15th season since returning. I won't be "that guy" who everyone can see should hang it up but doesn't. As long as my body says that it's okay and I'm enjoying the game, I'll continue.
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Old Sat Nov 09, 2019, 10:52am
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I'm in my 7th season of HS, and 3rd season of JUCO & NCAA. A lot of guys I entered the NCAA with are dropping it, and I'm asking myself is it worth it to keep going? I enjoy it, but are there better things in life than driving 3 hours to BFE, PA, waiting 1.5 hours till tip, reffing for 2 hours, and then driving 3 hours home? For $190?

Probably. But we'll see. I hope to hit 30 years overall, but who knows.
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Old Sat Nov 09, 2019, 12:23pm
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I hope you get to Division 1, or the NBA, if that is what you aspire to. I'm in my 5th season overall, and 2nd season at the varsity level. I'll continue officiating for as long as God allows me to, and I also want to be able to go out on top (a championship assignment of some sort).

Last edited by ilyazhito; Mon Nov 11, 2019 at 02:26am.
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Old Sun Nov 10, 2019, 12:11pm
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Thumbs up

Like several of the others here, I started later in life. I began after I coached my kids in all their sports, and they were pretty much done with school and I had some time to spare.

I'm older (59) and have been reffing for 15 yrs. I pick and choose my games and can do as many at whatever level as I want. I won't do more than three a day as I don't feel I can give 100% after that. I mostly do HS Var and older Church and Rec Leagues (18U and 16U). I seldom do AAU.

I average ~ 150 games a yr and have had my share of injuries over the yrs AND three surgeries! Last yr I developed a problem with my iliotibial band in my right knee which side-lined me for most of the HS season. I now where knee braces, stretch more, takes some meds, and actually feel pretty good. We'll see how it goes this Jan/Feb and if I can do my usual 50 games or so those two months.

I agree that when the players beat me down the court and I don't feel I can keep up, I'll stop doing the V games. Younger Rec ball I can keep going for a while more.

I still like the exercise, enjoy the camaraderie with my peers, and feel I can continue to teach and mentor junior officials for a while more.
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Old Sun Nov 10, 2019, 10:39pm
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When I got to the point in my 30 years of officiating where I started to consider when to retire, I was working exclusively varsity basketball. Over the years I had collected these three principles to guide my final decision.
1. It's better to go out a little too early than too late regarding your health,
attitude and level of competency.
2. Be honest with yourself so you can make the call. Not a doctor or assigners.
Knew of guys who thought they could still do it. Assigners thought
otherwise and either had to tell them or, worse yet, phased them out
with no explanation. The guys couldn't understand it.
3. If possible, try to make or hope your final game is unique and memorable.
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 02:28am
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Billy, so are you already retired, or are you just considering retiring now. That might influence what you have to say. If you're still active, may the Force be with you, and may you get a playoff game on the way out. If you are retired, congratulations on a long and successful.career, and may you enjoy retirement.
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 07:51am
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Go Out With A Bang ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by billyu2 View Post
If possible, try to make or hope your final game is unique and memorable.
Even though I gave back my entire varsity schedule last year, there was one late afternoon vocational technical school varsity game that my assigner left on my schedule, a game between two rival vocational technical schools that generated enough interest for a local television station to assign a camera crew to the game. During a timeout I mentioned to the reporter that this was going to be my last varsity game due to a chronic medical condition. The game turned out to be one-sided so the story on the late night news, weather, and sports featured me as a retiring veteran. "Let's go to the videotape" meant let's go to BillyMac.
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Last edited by BillyMac; Mon Nov 11, 2019 at 08:08am.
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 08:50am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
Even though I gave back my entire varsity schedule last year, there was one late afternoon vocational technical school varsity game that my assigner left on my schedule, a game between two rival vocational technical schools that generated enough interest for a local television station to assign a camera crew to the game. During a timeout I mentioned to the reporter that this was going to be my last varsity game due to a chronic medical condition. The game turned out to be one-sided so the story on the late night news, weather, and sports featured me as a retiring veteran. "Let's go to the videotape" meant let's go to BillyMac.
Perfect!
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 08:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilyazhito View Post
Billy, so are you already retired, or are you just considering retiring now. That might influence what you have to say. If you're still active, may the Force be with you, and may you get a playoff game on the way out. If you are retired, congratulations on a long and successful.career, and may you enjoy retirement.
Thank you! I retired at the end of the 2014 season. Those 3 guidelines were instrumental in my decision. I look back with all positives. Very fortunate!
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 09:22am
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This is my 24th season. Feeling relatively good at this point in my career. I have worked my last State Final in Illinois and probably in the next few years might give that up totally. I will stay working college or try to stay working as much college as possible moving forward. I am at a crossroads in my career as things will have to change in order to stay working the levels I work. I have had some nagging injuries recently that makes me wonder about how many games I should be working, but not to the point where I feel like I must do something drastic at this point. Still love it and would love to work until I am 70, but not sure that will happen.

Peace
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Old Mon Nov 11, 2019, 10:57am
LRZ LRZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
Still love it and would love to work until I am 70, but not sure that will happen.

Peace
Jeff, I can tell you that 70 is a life sea change. It may be just a number, but what a number!
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