HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN BECOMING A REFEREE?
I first refereed whilst in school, as I had been luckily enough to play for Paisley, a then National League Club and get selected for Scottish schoolboys, my PE teacher threw me a whistle saying that this was my chance to improve my knowledge of the game.
I didn’t get my qualifications till much later when I had finished playing and was coaching. At this time, it was becoming apparent that referees were difficult to recruit and retain. I then switched from coaching to refereeing.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES BEING A REFEREE GIVE YOU?
It gives me a fuller knowledge of the game, which leads to a greater appreciation of the game and players skills. Depending on the level of the game and the individual players, it gives me an opportunity to offer advice and clarification of the rules and interpretations.
Other than a few coaches, Referees are the only ones in the game, that are paid. Everyone’s financial status is different, but it can make a difference, especially as a student.
Being one of the oldest referees, it keeps me fit and continues to fuel my love for the game. I am also lucky enough that it takes me all over the country, to most clubs where I meet friends, old and new.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO ANYONE WHO IS THINKING ABOUT TAKING THAT STEP TO BECOME A REFEREE?
Referees are the most important piece of any game being played, no referee, no meaningful structured game.
Everyone will have their own journey within the sport, but those who choose to take up the whistle, can do it whilst still playing or along with coaching duties, or as a separate journey.
A referee has to grow a thick skin, as there is always, either a player, coach or spectator, who will question your call, some politely, others not so much. But your biggest critic will be yourself, as you are doing the job for the right reasons, for the good of the game.
Within the refereeing community, you will get as much encouragement as you want, if you are only wanting to help out at Junior levels or want to aim for the FIBA badge, you will be supported by those who are doing games at these levels.
I just wish I had taken up refereeing sooner.