Originally Published: Mar 5, 2010 6:27 PM CDT
Special Contributor to Oklahoma Sports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- In the middle of all the excitement of Class A and B playoff basketball is referee Bill Allensworth. It's where he's been for the past 33 years.
“The first time I put on a stripe shirt and whistle I feel on love with the game,” Allensworth said.
A love and passion the long time referee says helped carry him through over 3 decades of calling high schools games.
"The adrenaline gets going you get to work with young people and older veteran officials," Allensworth said.
But due to a nagging injury Allensworth suffered when he was younger, he's having to hang up his whistle. Something the veteran ref continues to struggle with
"I'll try not to cry," Allensworth said.
"That's a void you can’t fill," referee Jon Butler said.
Butler is Allensworth partner on the court as Okarche and Seiling go head-to-head in the state semifinals. Six years ago Butler was learning how to ref under Allensworth.
"For three evenings we just go and talk about the game,” Butler said. “He's been a great mentor to me."
And as Allensworth prepares to walk off the court one last time the one thing he says makes it easier, is knowing he has no regrets.
"I'm just enjoying life,” Allensworth said. “It's the best life I ever had."