By: Jennifer Vander Meer
My first year at High Performance Championships was amazing and one I will always remember, from the coaches to the atmosphere to the cadre.
I will never forget stopping my first match on the first day with a score of 2-3 in the second set due to a water main break that shut down the entire city. I was more surprised than anything; as a 23-year-old official, I have never had to stop a match mid-game, nor have I seen that in my playing career. This made for a fun night, and being the newbie to HPCs, it gave me a chance to meet the other officials, hang out poolside and enjoy the night.
The cadre of officials and mentors exceeded any expectations I had going into the tournament. I knew a handful of officials before arriving, which made me less nervous and more excited than anything. It was exciting to work with officials from both USAV and FIVB and learn from the best!
The USAV officiating community is not cut-throat, there are always new learning opportunities. At HPCs, I was getting great feedback I could apply in my next match – or during the match, if lucky enough and got to work with the headsets. Immediate feedback from my partner or from the mentor assigned to us was great. This helped me with my officiating skills immensely.
About the ref community, I love the people I work with. I learn something new with every person I work with and gain a better understanding of what a great official looks like.
The mentors worked tirelessly to help those who needed it. Some stood behind the ref stand and would give feedback when they could. Others, like Pati Rolf, would stand directly behind you as R2, breathing in your ear at every step to ensure you understood everything and looked good doing so. That memory will always be in my mind. Pati went from court to court to make sure we looked good… and boy did we look good!
I loved my time at my first HPCs. I met so many new and wonderful people, reconnected with old friends and grew as a person and as an official.