Shining Moment: 81-Year-Old Referee Enjoys Serving

Contributed By Linda Petersen, Unity 1st Ward, Burley Idaho Stake

  • 22 December 2016

At 81 years old, Brother Bruce Seamons still loves the thrill of the game and the atmosphere in the gym.

Article Highlights

  • Bruce Seamons just finished refereeing 33 years of basketball and 16 years of soccer.
  • Every Christmas, he returns to his community to referee annual basketball games.

Bruce Seamons recently finished refereeing 33 years of basketball and 16 years of soccer. Doing both sports keeps him running 10 months a year, from the middle of August to the end of June. Incredibly, Brother Seamons is 81 years old.

Brother Seamons began refereeing when he served as stake athletic director and started refereeing Church basketball. He went on to do city league ball, and an official told him he should go for high school. “I told him to let me know when the state meeting was and I would see if it was what I wanted to do. I did and have not missed a year since.”

Brother Seamons grew up in Chinook, Montana, with four brothers and two sisters. He’s been married to his wife, Afton, for 56 years. They have seven children, including two sets of twins. Every Christmas since 1994, he has returned to Chinook to referee the communities’ annual Chinook Alumni Basketball Games.

“I enjoy the thrill of the game, making the right calls at the right time, fans cheering on their teams, and when it is over everyone says it was a great game,” Brother Seamons said. “I enjoy junior high basketball because I have seen players, after making a basket, coming down the floor with tears in their eyes from making a basket. Helping players enjoy the game is a special feeling.”

He says he feels there are two challenges to the profession. “One is the physical part—running the floor like an athlete, looking like an athlete, and being an athlete. … The other challenge that all officials have is having consistency, in calling the fouls and applying the rules night after night. You might not be the perfect official on the floor, but if you can apply those two things, everyone can enjoy the game.”

Keeping him going in the profession is “the thrill of the game and the atmosphere in the gym,” Brother Seamons said. He enjoys “the feedback from the fans on and off the court, those that respect you on and off the court.”

He said, “After my first year, being told I was too old to be a basketball official made me determined to not let that stop me, as I loved to ref. I took care of myself physically and worked hard at being a good official—to officiate games that are enjoyable to watch and fair to all players. To be part of it is a great joy.”