There was a shortage of volleyball officials 12 years ago when Teresa Arthur was approached about becoming one. She said yes, and in just over a decade she has developed into one of the state’s best.
Arthur was again selected from among her peers to officiate in the Missouri State High School Activities Association state championships for the fourth time in her career. She called six pool play matches and the Class 1 and 3 title games this past weekend in Kansas City.
Only eight officials from across the state are chosen from a selection process that includes coaches’ ratings and recommendations, as well as support from one of three state observers.
“It’s exciting and humbling,” Arthur said. “I’m thinking, “How do you get to be one of the eight?’ I’m just overwhelmed when they ask me, especially the first time because I hadn’t been doing it too long.”
Arthur, a 1981 Houston High School graduate, played on the first Lady Tigers volleyball team to win districts and sectionals. She also coached USVA for about 15 years before becoming an official.
Arthur was first invited to state as a line judge in 2003. She officiated the 2004 Class 1 and 4 championship matches and in 2007 was a line judge in the playoffs.
Arthur admits she feels increased pressure calling games at the state tournament, where there is steady noise inside a large arena.
“You’re thinking how important it is to those players, families and coaches, and you want to do the very best that you can do,” she said. “But you also have to tell yourself it’s the same game I’ve done all year and I’ll do it the same way.”
Arthur’s success can’t be mentioned without her husband, David, who has worked alongside her nearly every match the past nine years. Teresa recruited David after her first partner moved, and she had become increasingly frustrated working with a different referee every match.
“I came home and said, ‘David, you’ve got to be my partner. I can’t take it anymore,'” Teresa said.
Together, the Arthurs referee three nights and a Saturday tournament each week. It adds up to 70-80 matches per season at stops throughout the SCA conference, West Plains and Rolla.
Teresa said she and David have a strong chemistry on the court that most partners don’t gain. They only referee one or two matches per year apart — and Teresa said she feels lost without her husband.
“We both know what each other is thinking, so there are no surprises with what the other one does. We have the same kind of judgment,” she said. “After the game, we talk about what happened. You don’t get that if you just show up and leave. You don’t get that feedback. We hash out things and come up with different scenarios. It’s really a good thing.”
The Arthurs, who live in Houston, have worked many matches in their hometown the past nine years. Lady Tigers coach Debbie James said Teresa’s consistency makes her the best official she has seen in her more than 20 years on the sidelines.
“It doesn’t matter if it is August or October, if you are playing in Houston or Willow or if its Monday night or Thursday, the coaches know what to expect and how the game will be called,” James said.
Since he was recruited to the volleyball court, David has asked Teresa to join him as a basketball official. She passed on the opportunity to have a hoops partnership.
“There are too many variables and besides that, you have to run,” Teresa said. “I don’t believe in running. I like to stand still.”