Getcha head in the game

Bosse and Kwan referee with Redondo Beach Youth Basketball

Referees in competitive sports are not normally the most popular people on the court or the field. But in this case, RUHS junior referees are making all the right calls. 

Redondo students are working as junior referees at the Redondo Beach Youth Basketball Program (RBYB).  Participants must complete a training session and pass a test to be selected. They earn 13 dollars per hour and can be scheduled for multiple games per day at the Aviation Gym in Redondo Beach.

“It makes me really happy when I am reffing and I see the kids smiling and having fun.  I remember when I played in that same gym. Reffing is a great way for me to get back into the sport,” freshman Sam Bosse said. 

The junior referees work in the same gym as young athletes and are able to continue returning to the gym in which they have “made a lot of memories.” 

“I grew up playing for the league, and it was always a fun experience. It feels good to be a part of the same program that helped me become a stronger athlete,” Bosse said. 

The junior referees agree that although reffing is always an enjoyable and exciting time, it can also be nerve-wracking as they never know what to expect. 

“It is tough and challenging to make the right call, and it takes a lot of skill. I have been so worried about parents yelling at me, and luckily it hasn’t happened yet—I’m definitely nervous about blowing a call and parents arguing with me,” Bosse said.   

However, the young referees are not alone as they share the court with an experienced senior referee. Senior referees can help in situations that may be controversial or support them by modeling the best way to handle parents and coaches.  

 “When I am reffing alongside a senior reference, I feel more confident in making calls as they give me great advice and are always encouraging me,” freshman Aidan Kwan said. 

In order to sign up to become a junior referee, students must apply on the RBYB website. They then attend RBYB referee clinics. When they return for the second meeting, they have to take a test and if they pass, they can continue reffing basketball games. If they do not pass, there is a lot of leeway, so they get another chance.

“I grew up playing basketball at RBYB, so for me it was really about giving back to the program. I have always enjoyed my time there,” Kwan said. 

There are three different positions that high school students can work at RBYB: floor referee, keeping track of the game in the scorebook and running the clock.

“I have learned a lot about basketball from a different perspective. It is cool because I am still on the court, and I am still involved in the game, I am just involved in a different way,” Kwan said.  

Reffing provides high school students an option for earning money as early as 14 or 15 years old. The schedule is flexible, and the gym is often a place where many kids go to watch games on the weekends, according to Kwan. 

“I see reffing as a combination of work and fun. I think the payment is really generous, but I do not just see this as a job, but as a fun experience too,” Bosse said. “Basketball is such a fun and exciting sport, and I am glad I have the opportunity to be part of the greater basketball community.”