Wednesday, 29 May 2024

2020 Officiating Review: Reflecting on a Year of Challenges and Growth

Dear Friends,

As we bid farewell to a year that has been filled with challenges and, for some, pain, we approach the new year with hope for fresh insights and renewed focus. Recently, I came across an article from AARP (a wonderful organization that I adore) that served as a timely reminder of what truly matters in life.

What struck me most about the article is the profound importance of loving kindness and the gift of generosity. Allow me to share with you a heartwarming email I received from a family whose daughter is an officiating enthusiast. Here are their words:

“This is our daughter. Her team lost in the quarterfinals of the 14 Open at Capital Hill. They then played on court 13. Do any of you know the official? He was not only a skilled referee but also took the time to encourage my daughter, who was the R2. She couldn’t stop talking about him (she even called her dad from DC just to share her excitement). If he is part of this group, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude. Sir, you left an indelible impression by not only being a good referee but by mentoring the next generation. As a mom and coach, I wanted you to know that you made a difference today.”

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These words of gratitude and recognition uplift all of us, for they celebrate the generosity, kindness, and respect that define our officiating community. Despite the challenges that life has presented us this past year, each one of you continues to exemplify the spirit of generosity.

I urge you to read the article mentioned above, as it contains invaluable insights to contemplate. From that article, I have distilled a few “How To” ideas that I believe are truly impactful:

  • Identify someone who could benefit from a little kindness.
  • Ask yourself, “How can I be nice to others today?”
  • Embrace small acts of kindness, for they can have a profound impact.
  • Take a grassroots approach – this is especially crucial when it comes to cultivating new referees. The story shared above beautifully showcased how referees can inspire young players. The task of recruiting new referees is a collective effort.
  • Dive deeper, seeking opportunities to give back.
  • Consider joining an organization that aligns with your passion for officiating.
  • Be a fervent cheerleader for your colleagues and the sport.
  • Extend a helping hand to those in need.

As we embark on the unknown journey that lies ahead in 2021, with the looming specter of the pandemic and the many challenges faced by our friends and neighbors, please prioritize self-care. Remember the sage advice of a coach who once said, “Remember to put your mask on before assisting others.” Taking care of yourself is one of the most important steps you can take to safeguard your long-term health. Step outside, breathe in the fresh air, and engage in exercises that resonate with you. Nourish yourself with nutritious food, ensuring that fruits and vegetables are part of your diet. Above all, let your light shine, not just for yourself but also for others. You are shining examples of service, and I am deeply honored to be part of this officiating family. Together, we will overcome the challenges that 2021 presents. Take care, be well, prioritize the safety of others, and have a joyful holiday season and a happy new year.

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Let us take a moment to honor those who retired in 2020 and remember those we have lost:

2020 Retirements

  • Ross Erickson – North Country Region, 17-year National Referee, 11-year National Score
  • Albert Fields – Southern Region, 19-year National Referee
  • Mike Hamilton – Heart of America, 25-year National Referee
  • Eric Hoffman – Chesapeake Region, 22-year National Referee
  • Ward Kostek – Lone Star Region, 11-year National Scorer
  • Bob McCarthy – Southern California Region, 21-year National Referee, retired in 2013
  • Kim Renquest – Rocky Mountain Region, 13-year National Referee
  • Larry Talbott – Heart of America Region, 23-year Junior National Referee

2020 Memorial: Remembering Our Dear Friends

  • Kay Brown – Northern California Region, 22-year National Scorer and International Scorer
  • Paul Davis – Iowa Region, 6-year Junior National Referee
  • George Miles – Intermountain Region, 6-year National Referee – Former Commissioner IM Region
  • Terry Miller – Ohio Valley Region, 27-year National Referee and Scorer
  • Stacey Olewiler – Keystone Region, 14-year Junior National Referee
  • Lev Zavalkov – Southern California Region, 11-year Junior National Referee, Retired in 2018

If you know of any of our teammates who should be recognized on either list, please reach out to us at [email protected].


Q: How can I express kindness and make a difference as an officiating enthusiast?

A: There are many simple yet powerful ways to make a difference. Start by identifying someone who could use a little kindness and consider how you can brighten their day. Embrace small acts of kindness and remember that even the smallest gestures can leave a lasting impact.

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Q: How can I contribute to the recruitment of new referees?

A: Taking a grassroots approach is key to cultivating a new generation of referees. Emulate the inspiring example shared earlier of a referee who took the time to encourage a young player. By showcasing the positive aspects of officiating, we can spark interest and attract new referees. This task requires the collective effort of our officiating community.


In this article, we reflect on the challenges and growth experienced in 2020 as officiating enthusiasts. We highlight the importance of loving kindness and generosity, sharing a heartwarming story that serves as a testament to the impact we can have on the next generation. The article emphasizes the value of small acts of kindness, the recruitment of new referees, and the power of collective effort. As we face the uncertainties of 2021, it is crucial to prioritize self-care and well-being. We pay tribute to those who retired in 2020 and remember those we have lost. Let us continue to shine as shining examples of service. Take care, be well, and have a joyful holiday season and a happy new year.

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