BATTLEFIELDS TO BALLFIELDS RECOGNIZES NEW MEXICO OFFICIAL
The national organization Battlefields to Ballfields named New Mexico official Brad Bock their Veteran of the Week. Brad is a multisport official in the Albuquerque area. Battlefields to Ballfields is a foundation that provides scholarships to veterans who return from defending our country with an opportunity to get integrated back into their community through officiating.
(The following interview was featured on https://www.battlefields2ballfields.org/ )
Name: Bradley Bock
Branch: United States Marine Corps and Army National Guard
Service Dates: 1991-2014
Why get into officiating?
“I have been involved in sports my entire life. When I was a child, after my mother was killed in a car accident, and sports was what kept me active and involved with my community. Sports taught me so much about life and the coaches and fellow players were always there for me. I ran colligate track for a year and coached High School Football for three years before I joined the USMC. After 23 years and several major deployments, I was medically retired from the Army National Guard. Soon after I found myself at the rink coaching my son’s ice hockey team. After breaking my femur on the ice, I decided that I was not meant to be on the ice and once I was healed enough I sought out the sport that I loved, football, and found my people again in the Albuquerque Football Officials Association (AFOA). The team welcomed me with open arms, like a long lost brother.”
What was your first experience working a game as an official like?
“I was lucky in that I was able to shadow officials on the sidelines during Friday Night Lights football. My first experiences were with the best high school football in our state, moving up and down the sidelines, seeing how our veteran officials handled the players, coaches and situations in the most pressured-packed games. It set me up to work my first game, which was a freshman high school game. I was so excited to be back on the field of play again. It was amazing to be back in the action. Since then I have worked playoffs games and was selected as an alternate for our State Championship game. Just like in the service, hard work pays off when you are officiating.”
What do you consider the most important aspect of officiating?
“Game management. It comes in many different ways. Keeping the game moving, giving the players and coaches a sense that you are hearing their concerns and most of all, enjoying the moment. Taking a moment to listen to a player and give a little encouragement to your partners can go a long way in keeping the game moving along and fun for everyone.”
Has becoming an official changed any part of your life? If so how/what?
“It has been said, if you want to get back on the field after your playing days, be an official. I am blessed to have a supportive wife (Deborah) and college aged son (Benjamin) who encourage me to be as actively involved as I can. Since becoming a Football Official and a member of the New Mexico Officials Association, I have branched out to Volleyball and Baseball. Battlefields2Ballfields has been there supporting me every step of the way. Having Mike Pereira call me personally was a thrill and the tools provided have helped me move up the ranks quickly. I am busy every weekend giving back to my community and trying to ensure sports remains relevant in our society. I am so happy I can still be a part of the games I love. I feel that I continue to serve my community by being an official, especially with the shortages that we have. The best thing I have had happen was after a tournament championship game, a parent from the losing team came over to me and shook my hand and said that I was the best official they’d seen all season long. Being a part of the third team gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment that serving my country did.”
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