My first year as part of the High Performance Officials Pipeline (HPOP) at the 2019 High Performance Championships was amazing. From the coaches to the atmosphere to the cadre, it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
I will never forget stopping my first match on the first day with a score of 2-3 in the second set because we needed to go back to the hotel due to a water main break that shutdown the entire city.
I was more surprised than anything. As a 23-year-old official, I’ve never had to stop a match mid-game, nor have I ever had that happen to me in my playing career. This made for a fun night, and being the ‘newbie’ to HPC, it gave me a chance to meet all of the other officials, hang out poolside and enjoy the night.
The cadre of officials and mentors exceeded my expectations. I knew a handful of officials who were going to be there, which made me feel less nervous. It was so exciting that I got to work with some great officials from both USAV and FIVB, and learn from the best.
It’s not cutthroat in the USAV officiating community. Instead, there are always new learning and growth opportunities. At this event, I was always getting great feedback that I could apply in my next match. If you were lucky enough and got to work with the headsets, that was also great because I got immediate feedback from my partner or from the coach/mentor who was assigned to us. This immensely helped my officiating skills.
I love the ref community; I learn something new with every person I work with, and I gain a better understanding of what a great official is.
The coach/mentors worked tirelessly to help those who needed it. Some stood behind the ref stand and gave feedback. Others, like Pati Rolf, stook directly behind you as R2, breathing in your ear at every step to ensure that you got it and that you looked good doing it. That memory will always be in my mind–Pati going from court to court to make sure we looked good…and boy, did we look good!
I loved my time at my first High Performance Championships. I met so many new and wonderful people, reconnected with old friends, and grew as a person and as an official.