Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Transitions & Setting Priorities

I've been officiating youth basketball since 1993 and high school basketball since 2002.  When I first started officiating youth basketball, it wasn't because I loved it.  Like my high school or college aged kids these days, I was strictly officiating for the money.

I was living at home and going to college nearby.  I wasn't working at the time though I spent a great deal of time as a volunteer basketball coach for my grammar school.  Since I was coaching, doing officiating made a lot of sense.  I could earn a bit of money during the time I was not coaching.  

I kept officiating youth basketball for many years but I found myself getting bored.  The games felt repetitive and I had stagnated a bit.  In was in the Fall of 2002 that I joined my local high school officiating group.  

Jumping into high school games was a change.  Though I thought I was a good official, I found that I had a lot to learn.  While it has taken me a lot of years to feel comfortable, I found that the learning experience renewed my enthusiasm as the youth level as well.  

Unfortunately, I ran into a lot of roadblocks with my high school officiating.  For one, my work schedule never really allowed me to officiate as many high school games as I wanted to.  Yet despite the roadblocks, I had some good years where I managed to work some playoff games.   While there are many who aspire higher, I am happy to have gotten a chance to work in the playoffs. In an ideal world, I would like to get a chance to work any games I wanted to and not worry about work.  But the world is not always ideal.  

Last year was a bit of a transition.  I had some things I wanted to take care of so I took the year off from high school officiating.   I made a decision this past May to return to high school officiating.  Though I decided to return,  I made a quiet decision to reduce my schedule. 

There were many reasons for this.  One was that I was quite settled in my job.  Leaving work early to officiated 4 PM games were just difficult in my position.  In years past, I would MAKE every effort to cut out of work to go officiate.  I wouldn't accept every early game but i would take a few and decline others just so I could go work. 

However, I no longer could leave early consistently.  I have a sales team I need to support.  While they don't need me every day, lots of things come up at the last moment.   I had to set the priority that my job comes first and my hobbies come second. 

But beyond the work situation, I also had been scaling back officiating overall the past few years.  Many times, officiating would get in the way of meeting up with friends or even just playing basketball.  I told myself that my personal life was more important than being an official.  

Thus as I enter the 2012-2012 high school season, my priority is to enjoy the games (even if they are only a limited number) I do get.  I'm not concerned about the quality or the level of the game.  In the past,  I was concerned about the quality of the games I was getting because I hoped I could work my way up.  These days, I'm going to enjoy being at the gym, working with my partner, and a chance to get some exercise.  

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