(WYTV) – Being a referee can be a tough job, but two men from the Valley have been doing it for over half a century each.
You see them on the court running up and down, making sure no one breaks the rules.
“I live by the rule, live by the law,” said Phil Roudebush, a referee for 51 years.
They make sure to stay in total control of the game while also staying composed.
“Call the game the best way you can,” said Ed Moore, a referee for 56 years.
Roudebush started refereeing at the young age of 25. At the time, he was coaching freshmen basketball at Sebring, until he got some advice from the athletic director.
“He took me aside and said, ‘Phil, you want to be a head basketball coach someday, don’t you?’ And I said, ‘I sure do.’ He said, ‘You’d make a better official than a head coach,'” Roudebush said.
Ever since then, Roudebush hasn’t looked back.
Moore had a different beginning. He started by running an intramural sports program that needed him to be an official. It wasn’t until later that Moore got into basketball.
“Well, it took me about seven years to make JV and then it took me another two years to get into varsity,” he said.
During any game, emotions and tensions can get high. Both men said it takes a certain type of person to do it.
“You have to have the type of personality that’s geared for officiating and you have to show that you know the rules and discipline,” Moore said.
“One, you have to be self-centered, in some respects. You also have to be territorial, in others,” Roudebush said.
Both men still maintain the physical demands of the game.
“I still work to stay in shape, I stretch. I make sure that I’m in decent shape and I watch what I eat, but I think a lot of it has to do with a lot of luck,” Moore said.
“I don’t do anything special, I just simply live each day as it comes and I’ve been blessed from the good Lord above,” Roudebush said.
Both men said they’re going to continue refereeing until they physically can’t anymore.