By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
When the boys basketball teams take the floor this afternoon for the MAC All-Star Game in Clinton, it will also be an honor for Tupelo’s Ron Thompson to be on the court as a referee.
“I saw the game a couple of years ago and it was really neat, the referees were letting them play,” said Thompson, 40, who’ll be officiating his first MAC game. “Just to be out there among the 24 best players in the state, it’s going to be an honor.”
A veteran basketball referee, Thompson was recommended for today’s job by the assigning secretary from his officiating association.
“I first got involved as an official as far back as calling intramural games in 1990, when I was at Mississippi State,” said Thompson, who played basketball and football at Oxford High School. “I started officiating high schools in 2002, so this will be my 10th season.”
Thompson also referees community college basketball, along with high school volleyball and fast-pitch softball. “It works out pretty well,” he said. “It seems like as soon as one season ends for me, it’s time for another to begin.”
Thompson, who works for Toyota Boshoku, calls basketball “my first love.”
“Being an official gives me a chance to still be out there running the court, staying in shape,” he added. “I’m not out there running plays, but I have to be sure and be in the right spot to make the calls.”
What’s the toughest call? “In most games, there really isn’t a tough call.
“But if you’re ever calling a game between Ingomar and Myrtle, with (Ingomar coach) Norris Ashley and his son (Jonathan) coaching against each other, you’d better get that block/change call right. They both teach their players to really get after it, and you’ll get an earful if you don’t get it right.”
Contact John L. Pitts at 678-1522 or firstname.lastname@example.org