So being a Middle Earth Housing Office Attendant is definitely one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had. I get to work with all of the RA’s and Community Staff, I have the chance to meet so many of the new freshman, and I get to help out at all of the Housing events! I actually don’t even mind having to answer phones and doing paperwork anymore. All was going perfectly well … until I had to try to referee the Middle Earth Basketball Tournament.
Every quarter, Middle Earth hosts friendly competition between the resident halls through sports. There’s one for every season: Basketball in the Fall, Dodgeball in the Winter, and Volleyball in the Spring. I remember my first year, they were a lot of fun to watch. Sometimes I even played photographer since I’m not exactly the athletic type. Everyone would get excited and pumped for the games and regardless of win or lose, we’d celebrate and congratulate all the players. Of course we’d want to win, but that wasn’t really the point. Cheering for our hallmates and seeing how hard they worked was the best part.
So when I hear that the Basketball tournament was coming up for Middle Earth, I got all nostalgic and excited to see all that hall spirit again. But then my managers told us we had to referee the games, and seriously, I died a little inside. I’ve never played basketball and I’ve never wanted to because of all the injuries it gave my Dad and my brother. Basketball ran in the family, but I never really liked it much. So I never learned the rules, don’t watch NBA games, and don’t even play for fun. I’ll play HORSE, but that’s pretty much it for my basketball experience.
I didn’t even know how to regulate free-throws before this.
It was more than me being nervous about ref-ing the game; I didn’t want to make any bad calls so that the residents would get angry and upset. They are kind of rare, but there are some students that will take these games incredibly seriously. Make a call, get yelled at. Don’t make a call, get screamed at. Some residents can’t keep their temper down, and I admit, it gets a little intense when your hallmates worked so hard and all that stands between them and winning is a referee’s calls. But believe me, us attendants are not specially trained for this. We are doing this out of the goodness of our hearts because we want you to have a fair game. Sometimes, that doesn’t get through to people.
During a timeout in one of the semifinal games.
But anyways, when I finally got to referee, I was a nervous wreck. I was awkward when having to follow the ball, I barely blew my whistle, and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Seriously, it was scary. One of the other attendants had to stop and talk to me at halftime. I’m not really sure what makes me so nervous about authority, but I have to learn it. If I’m going to be a good attendant and referee, I need to be more confident. I’m slowly learning to work around how introverted I am. I guess college can teach you the skills you never thought you could get. But I’m doing this for Middle Earth. It’s an amazing community and I have to do my part and contribute one way or another.