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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 11:27am
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Why you officiate...

Everyone (O.K., not everyone, but a lot of people) goes through a stage where they think about hanging up the whistle. I'm going through that now. (Not for age or health reasons - I'm in my 30s and in good shape - just wondering whether all the time and [email protected] is worth it.)

Although I'm sure we've had threads like this before, I thought it might be helpful to hear why you do what you do. I certainly understand that my decision will be ... well, my decision. I'm not looking for you to decide for me. I'm just looking for you to share YOUR reasons which might help me as I explore my own. Thanks.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 11:56am
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The Reason I Do It!

Basketball is truly a place of high drama. It is a place where man vs man, man vs nature and man vs himself plays out with real characters under the full scrutiny of dedicated yet fickle fans. It is a place where no participant can hide, a place where winners and losers are distinctly labeled, a place where mistakes are magnified into misery and success becomes legendary! This place of athletic theatre requires the careful eye of one who will enforce the rules by which each participant must abide. Stepping onto this stage as an enforcer of rules puts you into one of life’s toughest roles: that of judge (a.k.a. official, referee). After all, why do you think they call it a basketball “court”?

An official just happens to hold the only enforceable view of how well the rules are being followed. If the whistle isn’t blown, there is no foul and a “walk” happens only when a referee gives the designated signal! Regardless of how angry or loud anyone else in the arena might be, the official’s opinion is the only one that truly is official. The thought of being in such tight control can be intoxicating but at times it can also be smothering. When your view is THE view, there is enormous pressure to be right…100% of the time! The sport and its participants certainly deserve nothing less than perfection.

Oh, my…expectations of perfection? Why would anyone even dream of taking a job that has no margin of error, no wiggle room, no tolerance of anything but being flawless? Who in their “right” mind would want a job with no forgiveness for being wrong? In this case, the very questions of who and why ultimately contain the answer. For an official, the pursuit of perfection is the game within a game that draws one to participate. Officials are tormented and teased by the mental and emotional challenge that grows from hunting something that has never been seen. The perfect game is as illusive as Nessie and Big Foot and it is the very reason that the search is so addictive.

The constant nagging in the back of a basketball official’s mind says, “There is no such thing as a perfect game.” It awaits confirmation on the first block/charge! When a referee steps out on the court, he/she is only a whistle away from the worst call some fan or coach has ever seen! The mind says, “You can’t always be right”, but the heart says, “If you work hard enough, the perfect game will come.” It is this life battle between heart and mind that officials live for.

Officiating is much like driving a bus filled with backseat drivers. Every move is second guessed, every decision questioned, and every explanation jeered…by someone. Yet, it is the insatiable desire to prove to everyone that you were right and have a much better chance of being right on the next call than they do, that keeps an official coming back game after game. The passion that officials have for the game comes from the desire to be perfect in an environment that would not recognize perfection even if it existed.




Many officials have careers outside of officiating that are colored by shades of gray. The decisions we make are designated okay, good, better, or best, illustrating that success sometimes comes in degrees. Officiating, however, has no middle ground; you are loved or hated, admired or despised, asked back or eternally uninvited. Everything is seen as good or bad, right or wrong, do or die. There is nothing quite like being a basketball “judge”. When you make the right decision, there is little fanfare because, after all, that is what you are getting paid for. When your judgment fails you, the perfect game once again slips away into hiding and those in the gallery voice that reality with gusto. Right or wrong, a judge must always make a decision and to be considered successful, a basketball official must possess the wisdom and strength to declare guilty or not guilty under the microscope of everyone present: fans, players, coaches, and partners. Ultimately, it is for them that we call the game and unveil the verdict!
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:05pm
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Uh . . . . what he said . . .

No, really, because of the pay . . .

OK, NO, really . . . I love the game, I love the action, I love to be active, I love the interaction, I love the challenge. No two games are alike, and I get bored easily, so the fact that every time I step on the floor I am going to see something different is a definite bonus. And, what he said . . . above.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:07pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chayce
Basketball is truly a place of high drama. It is a place where man vs man, man vs nature and man vs himself plays out with real characters under the full scrutiny of dedicated yet fickle fans. It is a place where no participant can hide, a place where winners and losers are distinctly labeled, a place where mistakes are magnified into misery and success becomes legendary! This place of athletic theatre requires the careful eye of one who will enforce the rules by which each participant must abide. Stepping onto this stage as an enforcer of rules puts you into one of life’s toughest roles: that of judge (a.k.a. official, referee). After all, why do you think they call it a basketball “court”?

An official just happens to hold the only enforceable view of how well the rules are being followed. If the whistle isn’t blown, there is no foul and a “walk” happens only when a referee gives the designated signal! Regardless of how angry or loud anyone else in the arena might be, the official’s opinion is the only one that truly is official. The thought of being in such tight control can be intoxicating but at times it can also be smothering. When your view is THE view, there is enormous pressure to be right…100% of the time! The sport and its participants certainly deserve nothing less than perfection.

Oh, my…expectations of perfection? Why would anyone even dream of taking a job that has no margin of error, no wiggle room, no tolerance of anything but being flawless? Who in their “right” mind would want a job with no forgiveness for being wrong? In this case, the very questions of who and why ultimately contain the answer. For an official, the pursuit of perfection is the game within a game that draws one to participate. Officials are tormented and teased by the mental and emotional challenge that grows from hunting something that has never been seen. The perfect game is as illusive as Nessie and Big Foot and it is the very reason that the search is so addictive.

The constant nagging in the back of a basketball official’s mind says, “There is no such thing as a perfect game.” It awaits confirmation on the first block/charge! When a referee steps out on the court, he/she is only a whistle away from the worst call some fan or coach has ever seen! The mind says, “You can’t always be right”, but the heart says, “If you work hard enough, the perfect game will come.” It is this life battle between heart and mind that officials live for.

Officiating is much like driving a bus filled with backseat drivers. Every move is second guessed, every decision questioned, and every explanation jeered…by someone. Yet, it is the insatiable desire to prove to everyone that you were right and have a much better chance of being right on the next call than they do, that keeps an official coming back game after game. The passion that officials have for the game comes from the desire to be perfect in an environment that would not recognize perfection even if it existed.




Many officials have careers outside of officiating that are colored by shades of gray. The decisions we make are designated okay, good, better, or best, illustrating that success sometimes comes in degrees. Officiating, however, has no middle ground; you are loved or hated, admired or despised, asked back or eternally uninvited. Everything is seen as good or bad, right or wrong, do or die. There is nothing quite like being a basketball “judge”. When you make the right decision, there is little fanfare because, after all, that is what you are getting paid for. When your judgment fails you, the perfect game once again slips away into hiding and those in the gallery voice that reality with gusto. Right or wrong, a judge must always make a decision and to be considered successful, a basketball official must possess the wisdom and strength to declare guilty or not guilty under the microscope of everyone present: fans, players, coaches, and partners. Ultimately, it is for them that we call the game and unveil the verdict!
Holy cow...that's pretty deep.

I ref because it's fun. When I stop having fun, I'll stop reffing. It's really that simple.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:08pm
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A quick answer

It is both physically and mentally challenging.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:08pm
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I love the game.

It keeps my out of the house.

I love the challenge.

I want to be successful at something I love.

Is there really much else? Who cares what people have to say about what I do?

Peace
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:14pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgtg19
I thought it might be helpful to hear why you do what you do.
Easy. The money. Sure it's an hour and a half each way through the snow for a D3 game that's not going to look much like basketball. And sure, the coaches are insane and the players think they know the rules better than us. And getting home at 1 am tonight is sure to make the wife happy. But hey, that $175 makes it all worth while.

Ok, really I do it because I love doing it. I think I can "move up" and want to pursue it. That's really it.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chayce
Basketball is truly a place of high drama. It is a place where man vs man, man vs nature and man vs himself plays out with real characters under the full scrutiny of dedicated yet fickle fans. It is a place where no participant can hide, a place where winners and losers are distinctly labeled, a place where mistakes are magnified into misery and success becomes legendary! This place of athletic theatre requires the careful eye of one who will enforce the rules by which each participant must abide. Stepping onto this stage as an enforcer of rules puts you into one of life’s toughest roles: that of judge (a.k.a. official, referee). After all, why do you think they call it a basketball “court”?
Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking as the clock wound down and the benches emptied in my 78-37 contest the other night...luckily the janitor came in to take a nap so we had a fan in the seats to enjoy the pageant as well.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:30pm
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I get paid to exercise!

I love the game, I can't stand injustices, that is why I initially began reffing. I was sitting in the stands and felt I could do a better job than what I was seeing. So I took the test and started the never ending process of becoming a better official. Hopefully some of my enthusiasm for improvement has helped some of my peers.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:32pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ref in PA
I get paid to exercise!
yea, that's the reason I started, but now it's because of the monkey on my back. I hate those jittery withdrawals that come mid-March.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:32pm
Do not give a damn!!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_ref
Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking as the clock wound down and the benches emptied in my 78-37 contest the other night...luckily the janitor came in to take a nap so we had a fan in the seats to enjoy the pageant as well.
This is what I was thinking when I was working my freshman B game last night (the second of two) and we are playing a running clock game and the players can hardly walk let alone dribble. Then we had to be out of the gym by a certain time (reason for the running clock) for some school event I believe having to deal with college choices. At least hardly a coach said a word during the second game. Funny thing, I will have the same two teams during the varsity game in about 3 weeks. Fun times had by all.

Peace
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgtg19
Everyone (O.K., not everyone, but a lot of people) goes through a stage where they think about hanging up the whistle. I'm going through that now. (Not for age or health reasons - I'm in my 30s and in good shape - just wondering whether all the time and [email protected] is worth it.)

Although I'm sure we've had threads like this before, I thought it might be helpful to hear why you do what you do. I certainly understand that my decision will be ... well, my decision. I'm not looking for you to decide for me. I'm just looking for you to share YOUR reasons which might help me as I explore my own. Thanks.
I do it for a number of reasons with pay be last. Kids need role models these days and thats what I try to be to them. Its often nice when you are walking through the mail and a player recognizes you and says, "hey Mr. Ref"!
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 12:41pm
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When I first saw an official walk out on a basketball court, I thought what a cool way to have fun. They must really get treated well. I bet they have a great place to chill out before and after the game. Free food, a nice lounge, a treated like something special.
.................................................. .....................................
Rookie year---- guess i got that wrong............................................. .....

Second year............... there are some really neat people who officiate.... really nice to work with and be social with... yea a few that aren't for me.. but that's ok

Third year... lots to learn... the kids can be fun to watch and see them grow... coaches are great--before the game and nice people 12 hours later.......................

and now---- nice to stay involved with real kids... the extra $ comes in handy---does keep me mentally and physically sharp...keeps me learning and meeting new people.. yea the locker rooms and the old coaches offices to stink, but boy are we special ?
at least in our own minds....

Finally I understand: nobody cares about the official after a game except for other officials-- no one comes to a game to see the official---and when the whistle gets hung up, someone will come along and the GAME goes on...

Stew in VA
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 01:11pm
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Isn't it obvious? For the chicks! They can't get enough of a man in black polyester pants and under armor underneath! Actually I like basketball because of the challenge. I also work baseball and football, but basketball is tougher both physically and mentally. The extra money doesn't hurt either.
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Old Tue Jan 23, 2007, 01:27pm
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I started b/c I need a part-time job when my family situation changed. I immediately fell in love with officiating. There have been many times I have become frustrated for various reasons and considered quitting.

But bottomline I continue to officiate for 3 reasons:
  • I use my officiating paychecks to pay off my X-mas and credit card bills every year
  • I very much enjoy being around the game. I no longer have a desire to play, but I love being on the court to officiate games. I think no matter what, I will always continue to ref HS ball.
  • I still have aspirations to at least reach D2/D3 officiating. I have 3 very good friends whom I've seen rise from reffing military intra-murals/JV/middle school games and are now working D1 schedules. I started out at a lot older age than those 3 and none them had kids to raise like I do so I never expect to make it to their levels, but knowing I have the same training/officiating philosophies/mentoring/& roots makes me optimistic that I can least make it to the small college level.
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Last edited by Raymond; Tue Jan 23, 2007 at 01:47pm.
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