Donning The StripesDecember 14, 2016
By Jordan Kruger, Associate
Over the years, I’ve struggled to find something to keep me in touch with the game. Struggled to find something that gives me the adrenaline rush that a game which comes down to the last shot does. A hobby that I can spend time on outside of my professional career. Playing pick-up ball wasn’t doing it for me.
I always thought coaching basketball was my calling once I hung it up and was done playing competitively. I thought this would be a great way to not only give back to the game that taught me so much about life, adversity, and competition, but give back the knowledge that was passed down to me by the great coaches I’ve had over the years. In high school, I loved studying film and talking “X’s” and “O’s” with my coaches and teammates, devising game plans on how we could defeat each opponent. Coaching wasn’t it, though; something just didn’t seem to click as I trying to decide if that’s really what I wanted to do outside of my professional career.
My sophomore year of college — after deciding coaching wasn’t the route I wanted to take at this point of my life — I found my calling and way I could give back to the game I love: officiating. Wearing the stripes is something that has run in the family over the years, and I figured it was my time to give it a shot.
Immediately, I fell in love with the officiating aspect of basketball. I found myself staying up late at night to watch training videos and read the rulebook. I found myself texting, calling and meeting up with other officials to talk about philosophy, communication and case book plays. I couldn’t believe the relationships I was developing and the great people I was meeting. I was no longer watching basketball on TV for the game itself; instead, I was watching how the game was being officiated and what the referees were doing on the floor. Rather than go home after work, I would head to a gym in the metro area to learn from veterans who have been doing this for years at either the high school or college level.
Now, after four years of officiating, I’m still addicted to everything that comes with this hobby of mine. I still go to games to watch my mentors ref. Rather than being a seasonal thing, it’s year-round for me. I can’t seem to get enough of the people, the rule book, the case book, watching film, talking officiating and working games. A reffing junkie, one might say, and the way I give back to the game that’s given me so much.