The off-season. Quiet. Not. Much. Going. On. (insert bored “sigh”)
Last year at this time I was preparing to become a decent first year basketball referee. I had plenty of anxiety, worrying about the “what ifs” and “maybe this will happen, what then?” going on inside of my head. I prepared as best as I could and followed my mentors advice. That’s a pretty good recipe for practically any situation in life. Prepare. Listen to folks who have “been there” before, and be ready to work.
Last year my goal was to become a varsity basketball official within years three and five, though I changed that goal to year two…this year. I did what I could do to attain that goal and, with hard work, I’ve gotten to that goal, kind of. As it turns out I will officiate as a varsity official in a handful of games, but not many as I have to build up that schedule myself and get my name out there. Last year I hustled my butt off to get to this point…like working 160+ games to gain experience. I read case plays, I read the rule book not once but TWICE (and I hate reading the rule book…not much of a thriller-no movies will be made of this material…just dry details). Did you know that the ideal court size is 84′ X 50′ Ideal. Wanna know how many times I measured the court that I was about to work on? Zero. Did you know that the rectangular backboard that so many schools use is 6’X 4′ but that its recommended that replacement backboards should be 6′ X 3.5′? Fascinating. Lane size is 15′ X 12′. Compression sleeves on the arm can be either: black, white, beige or the team color; be accompanied by a doctors note although a note from the trainer will do; and not have a manufacturers/team logo on it that exceeds two and a quarter inches square AND if anyone else on the same team wears one as well IT has to be the same color. (that came up once last year) Details. Rules. I have to know them by heart, and I will review them again, and again and again, not to be a walking talking “rule book” prick but so that if it comes up…I’m ready. In my life experiences, if I’m ready for it…it won’t happen…very often, but its nice to have the correct answer when called upon.
I’ve been told that I’ll get plenty of work as a guy who will get called up at the last minute and asked to fill-in for someone who can’t work that night. It’ll mean that I’ll have to be patient. It’ll mean that I’ll have to be “available”. It’ll mean that there’s the very real possibility that the phone won’t ring, that I won’t get a call to go work a game and that I won’t get the chance to do what I love to do. All that I can do is what I’m doing now in the off-season. Get ready. Workout at the gym several times a week; read the rule book again. Clear my nights of other obligations. Pack my bag. Be patient (which I totally suck at) and wait for the call or text to arrive asking if I can work a game that night. Waiting and be patient. I’m not good at either, but I’ve made this my goal for this season and I’ll just have to have faith that God will put me into the games that He wants me in….I just wish that He’d help me be a little more patient.
God bless and have a good weekend.