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Finally, the long season is over for Justin. His first year as a basketball ref has come to a close, and he can now fully reflect on the experience.

Becoming a Ref: Rule 4 or Die

This is part of an ongoing series as our own Justin Meyer embarks on becoming a working basketball ref. It will cover his experience through the process of taking the certification classes, learning the nuances of the position, and eventually calling games.

The third class of my officiating education was Sunday. We were planning to spend the class at least partially in the gym, dripping our toes into basketball referee shoes for the first time. But one of the instructors had a family event, and instead we stayed in our high school classroom and instead continued to read Rule 4, which lays out all the definitions within the sport.

I came prepared for the hardwood, though. My protégé, Mark Donahue, ordered both of us our ref shirts, jackets for warm ups and whistles with lanyards, and it all arrived over the weekend. I hit the whistle at his house, first unsuccessfully, not knowing your tongue should be involved in the fun. But now that I know how to blow it, I’m a one-man marching band.

It didn’t end up helping me much in class, although my literacy did. For the full two hours, we read from the book directly or had generally open discussions after a question from the group prompted it. Even though I have watched basketball religiously my whole life and have played for as long, there were some minute details I either knew nothing about or wasn’t sure on until now.

I’m feeling a bit better even class that goes by, but I’m still very nervous. I don’t think that’s going to change at all until we get into the gym a few times. I need to start feelings okay with paying attention to so much at once and having such a responsibility on my shoulders. Those things, plus having to deal with people screaming at me no matter what I do, are what I think will be my biggest challenges to deal with. But, with experience and self-discipline, I should be able to handle it. I’m eager to finally get on a court and show how dramatic my block/charge calls can be.

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