As the lack of referees becomes a bigger problem each day, one Northwest student proves the strong still survive in the refereeing scene.
Paul Barclay, a fifth-year senior at Northwest, claimed the honor of being a top three referee at the Missouri Intramural Recreational Sports Association yearly tournament.
Many referees on a daily basis are pushed to the limits with technicalities and the judgement of the fans. So it's easy to question the motivation to become a referee in the first place. For Barclay, this isn't about the glory, but the greatness of the games he calls and his passion to provide accurate calls.
"I do it to get a better look on sports, because a lot of people just watch the game, but at the same time when you are officiating you see a lot more," Barclay said. "It's hard to explain, because people asked me before 'why do you officiate,' I do it for the experience."
Barclay's journey began shortly after he started his career at Northwest. As a freshman he called intramural football games before he eventually switched to basketball his junior year. Now three years later Barclay is striving like he never has before.
"I'm not for the recognition, I'm not here to just get big," Barclay said. "That's why I am surprised to be interviewed for anything, I'm here to just have fun, I'm here to officiate and I'm here to make a difference in people and how they think about officials."
The MoIRSA tournament is held each year at Missouri State University, where the best of the best intramural teams take the stage to become the Missouri intramural champions. Northwest brought one of their teams into this tournament and the Ballin Bearcats represented the school well. After pool play the team was listed as the number one team in the tournament and given a bye, before they lost to the eventual champions from Missouri State.
Barclay was awarded recognition as a top three referee during the span that the tournament was played. The recognition comes from an evaluation done during the tournament, where people were able to rate their referees based on performance.
Another form of evaluation that the committee of officials used to judge an officials performance was the NMAA (New Mexico Activities Association) rubix. This rubix gave basic percentages of how much each form of their jobs mattered including: uniform, mechanics, judgement, speed/movement/positioning, decisiveness/game control and rules application.
"There are a couple different staff committees," Director of Student Recreation James Hinson said. "There is an officials committee that's run by staff, generally its folks that have high school background for basketball and they evaluate officials."
Now with recognition from a well recognized event, Barclay is trying to take his abilities to bigger and better things. Barclay has recently applied to referee regionals March 23-25 at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Barclay knows that he would never have had the opportunity if he didn't stick with his core values of being a official.
"The biggest thing is you gotta love the sport, you gotta stay interested and you gotta have thick skin," Barclay said. "Professionalism is the biggest thing for me: you gotta be loud, you gotta be confident, you gotta know your mechanics, you gotta be safe and professional, you gotta look professional you're out there, you're the big guy with the stripes."