Joe Slaski referees basketball in Rochester (N.Y.) from a wheelchair

Joe Slaski referees basketball in Rochester (N.Y.) from a wheelchair

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Joe Slaski referees basketball in Rochester (N.Y.) from a wheelchair

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slaski2Meet Joe Slaski

Age: 47.

Residence: Macedon.

Jobs: Officiates games for Central Western Girls Basketball Organization and the Rochester District Umpires’ Association. Also works modified games and other rec leagues.

College: State University College at Oneonta, Oneonta County.

Playing career: Has played wheelchair basketball for the Rochester Wheels and Syracuse Flyers; a former member of the national sled hockey team.

Officiating high school basketball is tough enough.

Referees have to be experts in the rules, handle frustrated coaches and irate fans, and run into proper position to make lightning-quick calls.

Unless that ref is Joe Slaski, 47, who wheels into position.

The 47-year-old Macedon resident is the only person among about 300 referees in Section V who officiates high school basketball from a wheelchair.

“I have not seen or heard of anybody in that situation at the high school level,” said Kim Henshaw, athletic director at Greece Olympia and an executive board member for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. “I don’t even think I have heard it or seen it even on the national level … it’s quite unique.”

Slaski, a first-year JV official, has already received praise from others involved in the game.

“He is an official, first and foremost,” said Mark Henderson, president of Central Western Girls Basketball Organization. “It’s an awesome experience, but it was Joe who had to take that step to contact the board.”

Read the full story at democratandchronicle.com

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