Referees have feelings too!
There’s something special happening down at the courts on Monday evenings at the TSB. Look out for the youngsters in the blue and gold shirts as they scramble up and down the sidelines with a whistle in their mouth and an eagle eye on the game. These are our up and coming referees - the key to the future of our game.
Just like players and administrators on the bench, you can’t play a game of ball without these independent adjudicators officiating on the multitude of rules of the game as it counts down to the final buzzer. Rest assured, every decision they make, and there’s an awful lot of them, is appreciated by at least one team on the court and about half the supporters in the crowd.
Refereeing doesn’t come easy to everyone. Last year saw a significant drop in badged referees in the senior grades which in turn led to an overall drop in the quality of the product on offer to all our fee paying customers. Some would say that it had reached crisis point.
NPBA endorsed several initiatives this year in an effort to attract badge holders back into the association. These initiatives have seen a resurgence in the number of referees participating on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings which is fantastic but we do recognise that it will take on-going work to sustain and build a solid foundation for the future. There has also been an increased focus on developing our younger referees in the junior grades.
NPBA shouldn’t be shy about celebrating success. Only last week, Basketball New Zealand released its 2010 annual report and our most notable refereeing export in recent times, Gavin Zimmerman, received an honourable mention in it. After leaving Taranaki borders early last decade, Gavin, son and brother of the renown local refereeing family, has gone on to officate as a FIBA referee at the FIBA U18 European Championship for Men (Division B) held in Israel. What a wonderful role model he is for today’s blue and gold’s.
NPBA recognises that just like high performance players, elite referees must start at a young age and develop their craft over a long period of time. With the support of key sponsors, we’ve been able to outfit these up and comers with smart referees uniforms so they all look the part out on the court. As the message on the back of their uniforms state – “Sshh!!! Refs have feelings too”. So we ask that when you get an opportunity, give them some positive feedback, encouragement and say thanks for the great work that they are doing. We are convinced that with the right support and in the right environment, there’s another Gavin Zimmerman out there just waiting to reach his or her full potential.
(the views expressed in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of the NPBA)