Taste of big time

NOW that he's had a taste of the 'big time' in the National Basketball League, the world of referee Ian Campbell has unlimited possibilities.

It's not easy being a referee, taking the brunt of abuse, frustration and anger, but honestly where would a game of sport be without the brave job of the men and women with the whistle.

Known as Camby to his friends, Ian has recently set an enormous standard as a referee within the Coffs Harbour Basketball Association.

Although only young, he is considered to have the natural qualities to take his career further.

This year, Ian has been one of the referees controlling the play in the awesome State League games and has had the privilege to be the third referee along with Justin Baldwin and the renowned Roger Shiels, at the National Basketball League game in Grafton.

For someone who started his referee career only six years ago, Ian has climbed and conquered his Everest.

Playing basketball was fun but didn't seem to reach great heights for Ian. He was fortunate to attend various training camps and tours, but he has found more strength in upholding the rules of the game.

In 1999, junior representative tournaments were Ian's initiation as a referee, into a more serious league.

Over the years, his efforts and unbiased refereeing, has opened up many opportunities.

Ian was selected to officiate at the State Championships round 2 in 2001; round 2 and round 3 State Championships in 2002; with the Under 12 men's Grand-final to boot.

In 2003 Ian was selected as the CHBA representative referee of the year and in 2004 was again invited to referee at round 2 and 3 of the State Championships.

Ian has had some fantastic experiences.

"Refereeing at the state finals was the best because it was my first big game that I'd been picked to do, along with my first State League games when Coffs played Hornsby and lost by four points, or the NBL game at Grafton this year," he said.

Did he have any worst moments?

"Yep definitely, refereeing the under 14 men's junior representative game a few years ago, Kempsey against Coffs Harbour," he said.

"Kempsey were up by eight points with 40 seconds to go in extra time, and everyone except two of their players, was fouled off."

"'One of the two players left on the court injured himself, so he couldn't play anymore, and because there was only one left, Kempsey had to forfeit. "The parents from Kempsey didn't like that very much.

"There was also a game at the Odd Age State Championships that I refereed a while back. "It was a semi-final between Newcastle and Campbelltown, a highly explosive match as one of the Coaches became quite abusive and had to be escorted from the court by the court controllers."

Through all these experiences, Ian has always looked up to Shae Sullivan who was the person who took the time to teach him the finer points. He is also proud of her achievements, especially considering she too, is from country.

"Sandra Mottram has also been a massive influence on me, as she kept me involved with reffing at an early age when I was thinking about quitting," he said.

"She's always made trips away fun and worth while as a referee, and without them I don't think I would've stayed reffing."

This year Ian has been studying for his HSC but in order to increase his knowledge and competency standards, he still found time to undertake a Level 2 referee course.

Ian admits that his goal was to get into the state league arena.

"But I've done that now, I want to try to get to junior nationals, and just continue to improve as a referee," Ian said.

Ian Campbell's major achievements are to be applauded and the local association supports his every endeavour.

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