Eye on the ball

Ali­cia Bird Smith of­fi­ci­at­ing men’s cham­pi­onship tour­na­ment

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

Ali­cia Bird Smith of Makin­sons spends a lot of time in gym­na­si­ums, busy of­fi­ci­at­ing at nu­mer­ous bas­ket­ball games on the Avalon Penin­sula. This past week­end, she had the op­por­tu­nity to suit up and ref some games for the At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sports Men’s Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onships in Hal­i­fax, where the Memo­rial Sea­hawks were among the teams in ac­tion.

Ali­cia Bird Smith has been in­volved in bas­ket­ball since the sixth grade, and has now made the next step in her sports ca­reer — ref­er­ee­ing the AUS Men’s Bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment in Hal­i­fax.

Smith is a sub­sti­tute teacher liv­ing in Makin­sons with her hus­band and their dog, Thun­der. Through­out her life, she’s played on the bas­ket­ball team, whether it was in her ju­nior high and high school days, or as a part of the team for two years of her time as a stu­dent at Memo­rial Uni­ver­sity, where she stud­ied phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

“Bas­ket­ball is a true pas­sion for me, and al­ways has been. It’s more than just the game — it’s the chal­lenge, and the friend­ships I’ve made all over the coun­try,” said Smith with a warm smile.

Ref­er­ee­ing games came nat­u­rally to Smith as she made the tran­si­tion dur­ing uni­ver­sity from player, to coach, to ref­eree, which she’s now been do­ing for roughly nine years. It even­tu­ally be­came not only a way for her to stay in­volved with her pas­sion, but also a sec­ond form of in­come. Now, along­side ref­er­ee­ing and teach­ing, Smith also coaches for high school and ju­nior high teams.

The process lead­ing up to Smith’s po­si­tion at the AUS tour­na­ment took a lot of time and ded­i­ca­tion on her part, she says. Smith was first of­fered, over the course of sev­eral years, to ref­eree for un­der-15 boys and girls, un­der-17 boys and girls, as well as uni­ver­sity level tour­na­ments.

“There’s a lot that goes into get­ting to this level. Not only do you need the ex­pe­ri­ence from ac­tu­ally reff­ing games, but you re­ally need to know your rule­book,” Smith ex­plained. “There are in­ter­pre­ta­tions and a case­book. It’s not just like ‘that’s a travel,’ you know? There’s a lot of study­ing and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment that goes into it.”

Smith flew to Hal­i­fax on Thurs­day, and was sched­uled to spend Fri­day in a pre-tour­na­ment meet­ing be­fore get­ting into some games later in the day with the other ref­er­ees, in­clud­ing Craig Par­sons from St. John’s, who will be ref­er­ee­ing for the women’s tour­na­ment.

“Bas­ket­ball is a true pas­sion for me, and al­ways has been.”

—Ali­cia Bird Smith

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Smith ref­er­ee­ing for a lo­cal tour­na­ment.

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