What I Miss Most About Officiating Basketball

Anyone who has officiated understands there are certainly problems that go with being a referee, umpire or the one who presides over a contest.


Who could possibly miss any of the following?

  • Waiting anxiously for your schedule, and then being disappointed that you did not receive as many games as you would have liked.

  • Learning that others were assigned these big contests, which you certainly believed you deserved.

  • Driving like a madman through bad weather and traffic, barely making it to the site on time, only to find out that the visiting team is late and the game will be delayed.

  • Grabbing “meals” on the run and eating leftovers late at night, alone, when arriving home after a game.

  • Having a tremendous plan for a rare family dinner at home after an afternoon tilt, only to have the preliminary games run late and your game go into overtime, making all your preparation run afoul.

  • Explaining to your significant other that the plans for a night out are now ruined, because the starting time for the contest has been switched.

  • Taking part in a pre-game with your crew in the locker room, only to have one partner texting and not paying attention.

  • Walking onto the court in a quiet, empty gym for what should be a non-noteworthy game, only to spy your supervisor with a notepad, in the top row.

  • Having an official scorer at the table, shake his or her head whenever you call a foul against their team.

  • Hearing a coach constantly complain about the calls not going “both ways”……then having him/her apologize for getting excited once the game is over.

  • Listening to the leather-lunged parent, who agonizes over every whistle, yet never considers that the level of play in the contest is quite low.

  • Having to take a shower in freezing cold water after a game…..having no shower at all….being told to change in a closet.

  • Following a long drive home after a contest, having difficulty straightening out your legs to quietly walk into your house.

  • Doing laundry late at night to make sure you have a clean uniform for the next day’s contest.

These, and many other necessary evils go with being a sports official. As much as we may have complained about these occurrences over the years, I truly do miss them. The pandemic has gotten in the way of many parts of life, including officiating high school and college basketball this winter.

Along with the exercise, the excitement, the challenge, the fun, there is the energy of working with a crew of like-minded individuals who pride themselves to make a game fair and equitable. This year, I do miss the moments listed above, that in years past I wished I could have skipped.

Here’s to being thankful for all the positive things we have in our lives, and hoping that we can return in good health and good spirits to a life somewhat like we knew before the pandemic hit.