Most of you know that I have returned to being a certified basketball referee the last few years and I have to say, I have really missed it during the pandemic. Although getting yelled at from the sidelines during a game isn’t the most fun part of officiating basketball (yes—they yell even though they know I am a priest) I do miss seeing student athletes playing the best game invented!! A game invented by a Canadian!

Referees need to train so that they are not only in physical shape to keep up with the players, but they need to study the rules, rule changes and understand how to apply the rules in game situations. Each pre-season, members of the London Board of Basketball Officials get together to review the basics and fundamentals of floor positioning, mechanics and the interpretation of rules. We have a number of meetings and review many different situations that will come up during the season so that we are consistent and apply the rules appropriately. We study and prepare for the yearly exam working through the updated FIBA rules book and work through a number of different game scenarios. After a lot of hard work, study and discussions—we get ready to hit the floor!!

During the season we get our weekly assignments making sure we make ourselves available as much as possible working with a number of different partners in a number of different leagues making sure that the teams have fun and have a fair chance to win the game within the spirit of the rules.

Due to the busy realities of parish life and the fact that I want to referee basketball, I really need to discipline my time. Not only do I have to try to stay in shape (which is a constant challenge) but I need to make sure that all the work at the parish is complete. After that, I of course take a lot of time reading the rules, asking questions and referee games. It has been a great distraction for me letting me concentrate on different things and skills. But for this to happen, I have had to be very organized, let go some other opportunities to relax and dedicate extra time to all the demands of officiating. My life during the basketball season needs discipline.


Just like my dedication to the role as an official, like athletes who need to train and practice, Lent is a time of discipline setting our relationship with God as the highest priority. For us to do this well, it means that we have to say yes to God, prayer and service while saying no to other things. Lent is that time for us to change our daily routines that sometimes get out of sorts by placing God much lower of the list of things in our lives. We do need a training season for faith so that we can re-calibrate our lives.

We so often dedicate so much time and effort to sports, work or our vacations and yet not our faith. We need to approach our faith like we approach my officiating or other things that we value in our daily lives. With a strong effort and discipline with our faith life, we will definitely become better disciples and messengers of the Good News. I also believe that we will be much happier too!! How can we enter into Lent as a faith training season?

Attitude is so important. Lent is not just a time to give up chocolates for 40 days but a time for us to build up our faith life. Seeing this season as a time for training, sacrifice and discipline—although difficult, becomes necessary for us to get into faith shape. Let’s have an attitude of confidence, determination and perseverance to get training!!

If we are going to get into faith shape, we need to pray. I have mentioned this before but prayer is like our daily run, our daily weights and the one constant that keeps us on track and honest with ourselves. Prayer helps us stay on track but also builds us up. Prayer itself is like exercise so take it slow and build up over time. Prayer is essential.

Just like I need to constantly review the rules and work through game play scenarios and see how I should properly apply the rules, we also need to study with the gift of the scriptures, the lives of the saints and the teachings of the Church. We not only exercise our body in sports, we also need to exercise our mind. In the gift of faith, to strengthen our hearts and souls, we need to seek formation opportunities that deepen our understanding of faith. We always need to learn, grow and seek wisdom. The parish website has many different ways that we can do this. Take a look under the RETREATS & PRAYERS section for details.

We need patience and persistence which then will give us growth. We need to take our time and be persistent in our training knowing that things take time. We can’t get frustrated but take one day at a time building and growing slowly. Before you know it, things come together. Happy Lent training!!