How I spent my summer vacation

This time, I think I really did it.

Last June, I went to ref camp, and I got the same feedback I’ve always gotten.  “You ref a good game, but you look bad doing it.  Your posture, running style, and carriage will lead you to take more crap than you need.”

I (finally) used that as impetus to get my butt in gear and get in shape.  I got a personal trainer.

I’ve never been a big fan of exercise.  In fact, one of the reasons I ref is because it’s almost the only way I ever exercise, and I worry about what would happen to my health if I took that one way away.  In fact, when I had to stop refereeing from 2001 through 2004 because of vocal cord issues, my weight ballooned up from 185 to 215, and I was overweight for the first time in my life.  That first season back, 2004/05, I went directly back down to 185.  So that’s cool.

I walked into the personal trainer’s office on July 26 and told her exactly what I wanted…to look good for basketball season.  I vowed to do whatever she told me to do, since, after 40 years, I’ve concluded I’m not nearly qualified to make those decisions myself.

Within ten days, I noticed some muscles.

Within a month, my wife was saying I felt different when she’d snuggle up next to me.

Within two months, people were saying I looked taller.

Also within two months, I attended a ref event, and a longtime ref partner said I looked like a different person…that I walked into the room like I owned it.

And monthly photos my wife and I have been taking of a shirtless me leave no doubt that I’m totally different.

Am I a better ref because of this?  In the summer, I’d have told you I wouldn’t be…that I’d just give off the -appearance- that I was better–more trustworthy because I had good posture and visible muscles.

But now, I think I probably will be.  Doing all this work has bolstered my confidence, and that confidence applies to every area of my life.

And, in an unexpected move, I’m two inches less in the waist–and my weight of 165 is the lowest it’s been since sometime late in George H.W. Bush’s presidency…or maybe early Clinton.  My dad had a huge heart attack at 64 (they call his kind of heart attack a “widowmaker”) and managed to survive it because he’d taken care of himself.  I don’t think I was on track to survive a similar attack at that age.  Now I think I am.  Reffing got me to do this crap I always should have been doing anyway.

Let’s bring this season on.  Junior high ball this month.  First ref meeting–I don’t care if it’s 20 degrees, I’ll be going in short sleeves–is just before Thanksgiving.  And a few days later, I’m back  on the varsity court.


About Paul Hamann
I am a basketball referee in Washington State, working mostly high school games.

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