An interesting Link between hoops and golf
By day, he’s a student-athlete at Mount Aloysius College, a stand-out on the Mounties’ golf team. But when classes are over, 19-year old Dylan Link puts on another hat, or whistle as the case may be, and runs the basketball floor as a PIAA official.
“Ever since I stopped playing, I wanted to keep in the game,” he said.
Refereeing fifth and sixth graders and junior high teams keeps him close to basketball, where he feels the focus should be more on learning the fundamentals than on wins and losses. But at times he also finds himself in the proverbial crosshairs of eye-rolling, insult-wielding fans.
“A lot of them don’t know the rules and they’ll degrade you personally when you make a bad call,” he says. “I don’t mind general cheering, but when it gets personal, that’s tough.”
That’s one reason Link believes more young people don’t become officials, and why basketball needs more good ones.
The experience wearing the black and white stripes comes in handy when Link takes on yet another persona, an assistant coach for the Bishop Carroll boys basketball team.
“Officiating opens your eyes more about the game,” said Link. “As a player you’re looking at the big things, but as an official it’s the little things, so it helps you to understand the game better.”
The solitary, gentlemanly game of golf may seem like a far cry from the high-tempo realm of basketball; golf is governed by the honor system rather than referees.
Still, Link applies his officiating experience to his golf game, earning not only all-conference honors, but also the sportsmanship award.
“It’s about being able to show emotion, but keeping it under control so you’re not ruining the game things for other people,” he said.
Still a month shy of his 20th birthday, Link is blessed with wisdom beyond his years; a product of experiences from high school and college athletic competition, combined with the leadership of a coach and the fair-mindedness of a referee.
“Dylan is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met,” Bishop Carroll Assistant Athletic Director Joe Skura said. “He will not stop until he accomplishes his goals. We are so lucky to have him as a coach on our staff and to have him represent Bishop Carroll in all of his endeavors.”
Link is studying secondary education, history and political science at Mt. Aloysius, with the goal to become a high school teacher, and continue to work with young people. When he’s finished coaching on the varsity level, he’d also like to rise in the ranks of officiating to referee a state playoff game.
But for now, Link is getting his varsity playoff experience with the Bishop Carroll boys; the Huskies face Vincentian tonight. Link will fittingly take a lesson learned on the golf course with him: “It might all be over tomorrow, so enjoy the round today.”
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@ bedfordcountychamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.