Love is everlasting; I’ve found that through officiating Basketball; but my first love has never left my side, upon discovery of reffing – my entree? Flag. Football.
It was a Saturday ritual, all my college friends descending upon Hofstra University, enamored with all things football with the exception of the worry of insurance. I never played tackle football, nor was I ever going to. Fabio would throw me the ball. I promised to never drop it. After compiling stats of 50 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, and countless weekend fun filled games (stats all in my head) we decided to join our local league.
What a rude awakening.
There were rules. THERE WERE REFS. In my first game, one of them was a veteran, many years over. The other felt the after-effects of spirits the night before. His job was in jeopardy; I was going to take his spot.
That spot became mine a year later. I had no idea what to do. I remember the first game I did. When the ball was in flight, me being in the backfield watching the ball in the air.
“Are you reffing the ball or are you reffing the players, my partner asked.” That was a good point. My days of catching were over. Instead, I would catch the pass interference from now on.
With my playing career in the rear view, I went all in on refereeing. I remember there was a point in time when I thought I’m having so much fun in this after doing 6 games on a Sunday, I had a thought. I wish I could do this overnight. Little did I know that it would be my reality at some point.
Times changed. There was no upward mobility in Flag, to my dismay. I reffed locally on Long Island, but there were to be no reffing it in High School, or College, or Professionally. I looked elsewhere to get that fill.
Yet, I sauntered on, searched for new opportunities. The most that was conducive to my swag was Basketball – it was the game I’ve always loved playing, and it would only be natural I got into that. Combined with the love I have for creating, and writing, we all know the story of how Referee Rant started.
But this is about my FIRST LOVE in officiating. And that’s the game of Flag Football. I was always disappointed that it had the least amount of coverage on TV, or that not many, sans the ecosystem of being in it, knew of how beautiful the game really is. What it could be.
I hope now the world will know. Everyone will know what it can become.
I want to thank everyone with warm wishes on my new position with the USFTL. It came out of the blue, initially. I never thought in a million years did I think I would make an impact on the national level. I always thought there could be major improvements to blow the sport wide open to the masses. I hope to do that, with the great team I have behind me. I look forward to partnering with USFTL, nationally, restoring its prominence,
and bringing that Referee Rant drip.
“Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far.”
– Swahili Proverb