It’s March, but staying fit isn't madness
Each year, when the weather starts to get colder and the ability to participate in outdoor activities becomes limited, do you find yourself asking, “What can I do to stay active during the winter?” While there are a lot of options, one people may not think of is officiating basketball. Yes, becoming one of us – a zebra!
Now I have to admit, when I started officiating basketball at age 15, it certainly wasn’t for the physical or mental stimulus; rather, it was a way to make some extra spending money while in high school and college. Fast forward a few years and things have changed significantly.
Yes, I still get paid to officiate, but now officiating is about being active, striving for the next level of competition, learning from veteran officials, camaraderie with other officials and a sense of personal accomplishment. This season will mark my twentieth being licensed as a WIAA official, thirteenth working high school, eighth working NCAA Division 3 women’s college basketball and my first year working NCAA Division 2 women’s college basketball. I ended my season this year at the Kohl Center, officiating the Division 1 boys’ championship game; which was my fifth state tournament assignment.
Most people don’t necessary think of officiating basketball as your typical workout, but it really is a good stimulus for your mind and body. The obvious relationship between officiating and physical activity is running up and down the court. Granted, some games require much more running than others, but overall, you do get a good cardio workout while officiating.
A friend of mine recently monitored his steps during a couple games using a pedometer and the results ranged from 2,500 steps to 6,000 steps (2,000 = 1 mile) per game. This is certainly not a scientific study, but it does give a good indication of the amount of exercise you can get from officiating.
Along with the physical aspects associated with officiating, it also requires a certain amount of mental focus and stimulus. On every single play, you have to evaluate the actions of the players, determine if a call should be made and then know and enforce the rules appropriately – all within a split second!
So … next fall, as the leaves start to turn and you think about how you’re going to stay active in the winter, consider becoming an official. It’s a great way to stay active and there is always a need at every level.