SURREY â€” Last season, the SurDel Basketball Officials Association was stretched to provide referees for close to 2,400 high school games in all of Delta, White Rock, Surrey and a few schools in Langley.
According to Al Haynes, the SurDel BOA’s educator and assigner, this season could be similar, due to the lack of refs.
Last year, Haynes managed to get all of the games covered with 68 officials.
Only around a dozen of the games had one official. He said it is preferable to have two refs officiating one game.
"Every year we lose two or three refs, so we need to replace them. We don’t really have enough for 2,400 games (with) 60-odd officials. A lot of them work … and they’re not available in the daytime," Haynes said.
It’s his job to schedule and assign the referees games and make sure the games start on time.
Due to the shortage last year, Haynes said one official worked 116 games last year because he was available during the daytime.
He also noted a day where a ref worked five games in a single day – something he hopes not to do again this season.
"He’s a good ref, but I don’t care how good you are, you can’t ref five games in a day," said Haynes.
"It’s impossible. Mentally, you can’t do it."
In order for Haynes to comfortably pull off the season without scheduling problems, he would need around 80 officials.
He said the month of January is when the scheduling becomes tough because of all of the tournaments, including the RCMP tournament for the boys, the firefighters’ tournament for the girls and the Catholic provincial tournament hosted by Holy Cross.
The addition of a junior tournament, as well as senior games, makes it tougher because of the limited number of referees, Haynes added.
As well as assigning their games, Haynes has to make sure all the incoming refs are properly trained and educated.
The former high school teacher said he’s hoping to get close to 20 people to the first classroom session on Oct. 6, so SurDel BOA will have enough officials to get through the season.
"For young people, it’s a good, healthy way to make some money. You give back to the school system that educated you," said Haynes.
He also went on to say that the pay is pretty good and that it "beats tossing burgers at McDonald’s."
The training consists of five 90-minute classroom sessions with a two-hour gym session to go through the mechanics of refereeing.
The training ends when trainees officiate a junior girl’s tournament at Lord Tweedsmuir, with veteran refs shadowing them and giving them pointers as the game goes on.
Anyone looking to become a referee can email Al Haynes at email@example.com.