It was a cold, windy day on Long Island. The first day of March upon me, and I was already thinking about the Basketball season – that was. As most Basketball officials are getting ready for their next season in spring, whether it be respites or another sport, I was reflecting intently, on the memories that were just made this past November thru February.
Lord knows I’ve had my fair share of them.
Personally, I’ve leveled up in skill, in concentration, in quality of schedule, and most importantly, personal growth. As I was about to get ready for AAU Season, Baseball, Lacrosse, and Flag Football, I found out – I wasn’t done. Going up to to the NY state Federation Tournament has been a thrill for me – an honor, icing on the cake for the best season I’ve had, thus far.
As much as it’s an honor for all the New York Statewide champions that have already been coronated, it’s the tournament of all tournaments.
“Great Basketball – meeting new referees, sharing stories, and experiences is what Federations is all about. Just good times, all the way around. Every referee should mark it as a goal in their career.” – Demez Carrington
Champions vs. Champions.
That’s what one of my mentors said to me. It is something that he has grown accustomed to, as he’s gone upstate for special tournaments such as the State Championships and now, Federation. But what was more special was that I was able to share that experience with. Thank you
“It was an honor to be one of the final 15 referees
to work the FINAL weekend.” – Tommy Caramella
And to that fact, this along with the State Championship, here in New York, they recognize some of the best officials that have been doing it all season.
Not only were the officials honored to officiate the top teams in the state, but it was also the camaraderie of officials that led us, genuinely, to root for each other. To do well in our respective games, to pay homage to all the work each and every official has put in, and to soak in the moment.
“This was a GREAT experience –
“Working at the ‘Federation games was a great opportunity and experience for me and I really enjoyed the competition.” – Ray Woodson
“This is the biggest accomplishment in my officiating career!”
– Sylvia Ganaway
Aside from officiating myself, I was able to see the boy Joe Girard III, who locally has been lighting it up, upstate, pouring gasoline and taking a match to it in the Glen Falls area. Just like Jimmer before him, he put on a show – he didn’t disappoint in front of his home crowd.
He dropped 40+ in both of his games, as he led the homegrown Glen Falls High School all the way to the B championship. The semi-final contest between them and South Bronx Academy was intense AF, and the 3 refs couldn’t have handled it better. Shouts to Andrew Arini, Mike Palumbo, and Damien Shaw, the latter who came some 2 hours before but was ready for the moment.
“Wonderful. #Blessed.” – Andrew Arini
“The experience I had was great from seeing a lot of fellow officials to an unforgettable game. The hospitality was great and everyone from the beginning I got there til’ the time I left. It is something most of us dream for and I am very appreciative for the opportunity and it’s an experience I will never forget.” – Damien Shaw.
I also have officials that came in other capacities. Screams to Sean Henry & Stu Coleman as assistant coaches, my Island Garden Brethren – Sean was able to come up with Lawrence Woodmere Academy who fell short.
But, Stu Coleman and the Crusaders of Lutheran High School, were able to avenge their heartbreaking loss from last year and capture the AA Boy’s championship. Congrats to both, on a resplendent season.
It was amazing to see some of my peers who have started before me, started with me, and officials that I just met that off
“The experience was great, favorite part wasn’t my games, it was hanging out and getting a closer relationship with everyone.” – Brandon Kamil
“It was an honor and a privilege to be given the opportunity to work the state federation tournament. To be able to share the experience with a group of officials who are so passionate about our craft was truly a blessing and something I’ll cherish for a long time.” – Mike Desepoli
“It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my referee career so far, along with being able to work the NJ TOC and College Championships this year. To be selected as one of NY’s top referees makes me beyond grateful
“Finally went up to NYS Federation this weekend – fun times
with the ref brotherhood.” – Jared Jacobson
“Greatness lies within each one of us! Endless hours of studying film and the rule book, countless workouts, injuries, mental and physical breakdowns – added with sleepless nights; all is rewarded when you get to
officiate on the big stage!” – Shanade Bernard
Here’s to an experience of a lifetime. Something that I hope I’ll have the honor and pleasure to do again.
“NYS Federation 2019, to sum it up…IT WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE! 2nd trip to Federations only this time I represented the PSAL. IT was an honor to represent them since I started there and played there. Some guys never get a chance to go to the NCAA Tourney but for us NY Refs… this is OUR version! To get to ref NYS top scorer in front of 6,000 people was icing on the cake!”
– Carlos Martinez
“We are as good as our last game. When the game ends we
start over with a clean slate.” – Andrew Arini
Congrats to all involved. A Pod, tomorrow. Special Federation ish.
Ralph the Ref.