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Rose seniors referee recreational sports

Mon.| 12-11-23 | SPORTS

     Athletes have to hang up their cleats at some point, whether they want to or not. Many high school athletes claim to love their sport, but it is what they do after leaving the field that truly determines that.  

     Some Rose senior athletes have not hung up their cleats yet, but are showing their appreciation for their sport by pursuing refereeing through Greenville Parks and Recreation at H. Boyd Lee Park. Senior varsity football player Henry Walter and senior baseball player Hayes Johnson participate in refereeing baseball and basketball.

     “I thought Boyd Lee would be easiest for me because it's close in distance,” Walter said. “I love to participate in sports, so refereeing fit under that category.

     Even though Walter enjoys his involvement, this job is not a walk in the park. Aside from the game, the referees must deal with criticism from players, fans and coaches during and even after the game. Refs have to keep it professional and try not to let their emotions get the best of them. This can be hard when an adult or even a kid disagrees with them. 


Photo by Ty Williams.

     “The arguing from the parents and coaches, it gets really annoying,” Walter said. “The parents are a little obnoxious and the coaches are even more obnoxious.” 

     At 16 years old, Johnson began his referee journey when he was referred by his friend two years ago. He wears the black and white stripes proudly where he referees seven and eight-year-old basketball for boys and girls. 

     “When you are refereeing that young, it's more of the parents and the coaches caring about the game more than the kids do,” Johnson said. 

     These student-athlete referees are helping Pitt County youth athletics in a major way. By filling a role that is lacking around Greenville. They care about the kids and their future in sports. 

     “There is a shortage of referees nationwide,” Walter said. “I like to fill that void by being there [for] these young kids and helping out the community.”

     Walter and Johnson have found a passion for refereeing. This could open up job opportunities in the future and more advanced leagues, such as travel and even collegiate sports. 

     “I like to build my experience,” Johnson said. “I think it would be really fun to go and referee college basketball games and even umpire college baseball games.”

     Most Athletes dread the moment when they have to stop playing the sport they have been playing their entire life. Through reffing, they are able to be back on the field and make an impact on the game.


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