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This Anne Arundel County referee is bringing wisdom to the basketball court

Anne Arundel County referee inspires the youth with wisdom on the court
Anne Arundel County referee inspires the youth with wisdom on the court 03:42

BALTIMORE -- No matter the sport, game officials are often criticized and rarely praised.  That's usually the case, but there's a basketball referee in Anne Arundel County who's worthy of praise.  

Dwyane Singletary has been officiating youth games in Severna Park for 10 years. What stands out about Singletary is how he interacts with 2nd and 3rd grade players during games. 

He does more than blow the whistle, he stops the action to impart wisdom:  instructing players how to play defense, how to pass, where to position themselves for rebounds.  Singletary's on-court chatter is non-stop, he's constantly giving the kids instruction and encouragement.  There are coaches on the sidelines, but in this case, the referee is a coach on the court.

"This is where you teach the game," Singletary says.  "This is where you teach sportsmanship. This is where you teach skills. This is where you teach basketball, situational basketball. I tell these kids different things, and then they do it."

"What's amazing to me is, these kids are 2nd grade, 3rd grade. You start the first game, by the time you get to game 7, 8- you see the improvement. I've had parents come up to me after every game telling me how much their child has learned and how much they like the game, because this is the time for them to enjoy the game."   

"The benefit is when I see kids years down the road, I see kids now that are in high school, and they talk about things I showed them 5, 6, 7, 8 years ago, and it's, it's a blessing"  

Singletary will officiate eight games on a Saturday during the season, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. He's 62 years old and says his knees are sore at the end of a long day, and he's not sure how much longer he can keep up the schedule. 

Singletary's nephew Elton White is his officiating partner on the court, and White plans to continue the tradition of teaching the kids when his uncle is no longer able.  Singletary has officiated older kids- high school and AAU games, but he has a special attachment to serving as a referee for the youngsters in Severna Park.

"When they make that shot, you see that energy that gets in their body from making that very first shot", Singletary says.  "So, that's why I do it. I do it to see that kid who just started playing basketball make that first shot. That's the biggest joy for me."

Singletary's daughter Amber was a star player at Seton-Keough high school and played at the University of Mississippi on a basketball scholarship.  Singletary says the game has given much to his family, and he officiates the way he does as a way of giving back to the game.


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