Join the Whistle: Sam Mason’s Journey to Dodgeball Refereeing

In the world of dodgeball, the role of a referee is not just crucial; it’s a unique vantage point that offers a different kind of thrill and satisfaction. Sam Mason, a revered figure in the British Dodgeball community and an official with experience at European Championships, shares his journey into the heart of dodgeball refereeing—a path that began quite unexpectedly but has led to an enriching career shaping the game’s future.

A Serendipitous Start

“My journey into refereeing was completely accidental,” Sam recalls.

Reflecting on how a shortage of referees at a tournament led him to step into the role. What started as an impromptu decision blossomed into a passion, driven by the joy and fulfillment found in officiating the game. This experience underscores an essential truth about dodgeball: the sport is full of opportunities for those willing to embrace them, even from the most unforeseen circumstances.

​​ “I was there playing and I just took it upon myself to fill in the gap and ended up really enjoying it. Got into some courses and then took it up a bit more seriously. So, when I wasn’t playing at tournaments, I could go to a tournament just to referee the game,” Sam explains. 

Transitioning from player to referee didn’t just mean a change in perspective for Sam; it required a dedication to learning and improvement that went beyond the court. Preparing for significant competitions, especially with the European Championships on the horizon, became a new focus.

“I’m constantly going over the rules, watching previous matches, and learning from them to ensure I can support other referees,” he explains. 

This dedication not only enhances his own skills but also serves as a foundation for mentoring less experienced officials, ensuring the highest standards of refereeing across the sport.

Memorable Moments on the Court

From humorous incidents, like taking an unexpected hit during a game, to serious responsibilities, such as managing player injuries with poise, Sam’s experiences highlight the multifaceted role of a dodgeball referee. He shares one such amusing memory: 

“Last year, I was refereeing a game between Northern Ireland and maybe Wales, and I was walking up and down the court as usual when somebody blocked a ball into the back of my head. I was seeing stars for a couple of minutes.” 

This experience, while humorous, showcases the unpredictability and fun that can come with the role. On a more serious note, Sam recalls:

“One of the girls was playing in the men’s division and had a bad headshot. She ended up passing out, so I had to pause the game, deal with it… Both captains came up to me afterwards and said, ‘Sam, I think you dealt with that really well.’ I’m glad that I’ve got that respect from the players, that they trust me to do my job and they appreciate what I do.” 

These experiences underline the respect and trust referees earn from players, highlighting the critical role they play in the sport’s integrity and enjoyment.

A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Sam is ambitious, aiming to continue his involvement in European competitions and aspiring to referee at the World Dodgeball Championships. His journey reflects a broader vision for dodgeball refereeing—a field ripe with opportunities for growth, learning, and contribution. 

“The more referees we have who aren’t players, the more we can expand the sport’s reach and influence,” Sam asserts, highlighting the potential for non-playing referees to enrich the game.

An Invitation to Make an Impact

For those with a love for dodgeball and a keen understanding of the sport, stepping into the role of a referee offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the game’s growth and integrity. By joining the ranks of referees, you can help shape dodgeball’s future, ensuring it remains a fair, enjoyable, and respected sport for all involved. Sam Mason’s journey from an accidental referee to a key figure in dodgeball officiating serves as an inspiration and a call to action. If you’ve ever wanted to give back to the sport you love, now is the time to consider taking up the whistle. 

Join Sam as a referee:

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