Finding officials a key to Rockford hosting the Chicagoland Summer Showcase events

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A second Chicagoland Summer Showcase high school basketball tournament will play-out again this weekend in Rockford. This one will be bigger that last weekend’s tournament was. There will be 66 boys teams from nine states competing, and that’s only in the varsity divisions. One of the biggest challenges of hosting a tournament like this is finding enough officials to work all of the games.
That job belongs to Rockford District 205 athletics director Mat Parker.

“It’s a challenge in that we want high-level officials,” said Parker. “And if you notice have three officials per court, not two officals, so we’re running these games just like a normal, regular IHSA or National Federation of High School Sports tournament.”

Last Saturday at Rock Valley College some of the officials said they were working eight games that day. How do they survive that grind?

“Just a lot of water,” said one of those officials Harry Voulgaris of Schaumburg, Illinois. ” It’s fun. This is what we do for a living. Guys love to play. We love to ref. Coaches love to coach.”

These men refuel during brief breaks between games or during short halftimes breaks.

“Little snacks here and there,” said Voulgaris. “Just don’t overdue it so you can stay light on the court. Be up and down the court and make the right calls.”

This Saturday there are 95 games that are scheduled to be played in the two varsity divisions alone. Parker says he does have some help recruiting officials, but the bulk of it falls on him and his staff.

“The state will help us get the word out that we’re having these events. Kurt Gibson (IHSA Associate Executive Director) sent out multiple emails to all the state associations throughout the state of Illinois. Once the events were put online on some of the national exposure websites we’ve actually had officials contact us from as far away as Oregon to come officiate these events.”

The Chicagoland Summer Showcase II event begins Friday evening with varsity action at Rock Valley College and at Guilford High School. Sophomore and freshman games will be played at Auburn High School The event continues through Sunday afternoon.

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