Eye on the ball
Alicia Bird Smith officiating men’s championship tournament
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
Smith refereeing for a local tournament.