‘I am a referee,’ with feelings, too

I am a referee.

I am also a father, a son, a grandfather, an uncle, a nephew, a brother and a husband.

I am a veteran, a coach and a former teacher.

I have volunteered in service organizations. I am a college graduate.

I am a referee.

I am a referee. I love the beach, I love spending time with my wife, children and grandchildren. I like movies, and baseball, especially the Cubs.

I love horses and horseback riding. I love spending time at the barn. I like to read, I like beer, I love life.

I am a referee.

I am a referee.

I referee because I like basketball. I love the game. I enjoy spending time with young people participating in this American game.

I really don’t care who wins or loses. What I care about and all referees care about is giving each team a fair chance to win.

I am a referee.

Keep this in mind as you attend these games. We are just like you.

I bleed, I have feelings, and we are really not “getting rich” doing what we do.

I am a referee.

Keep this in mind the next time you want to verbally accost an official.

Joseph E. Bilka


(Editor’s note: The writer has been a PIAA basketball official for 34 years.)

Fish commission needs to think about future

The Keystone Select Trout Waters received rave reviews from anglers on those sections of streams.

These folks had little reason to complain with all the large trout swimming around them. All anglers should have a chance to comment on the program. There was no public comment period prior to the start.

The program failed to attract many new anglers. It was the same anglers driving longer distances.

This program is not kid or family friendly. I’m sure few, if any, kids were seen fishing these areas. Most people don’t care to fly fish. They think it’s complicated and don’t have time and money to invest on fly fishing equipment and learning to use it.

Better catches can be made using natural bait on conventional tackle they already own.

The Fish and Boat Commission needs to open these waters to all tackle angling or discontinue stocking all the large trout that belong to all anglers.

The commission loyalties lie with the Orivs guys and fly fishing clubs. We need our legislators to keep close tabs on the commission guys or the only people trout fishing in Pennsylvania will be fly fishermen.

A license increase, right now, would cost most anglers more but they would be getting less. The delayed harvest users should be paying more for these bigger fish. This would solve some of the commission’s financial woes and help pay the salaries of the staff who put their fly fishing buddies first.

Nick Vrabel, Altoona