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Beyond the stripes: Honoring a local ref

10:31 PM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Let's be honest: Almost all sports fans hate the officials ... refs, umpires, doesn't matter. When your team is playing and losing, it's always the refs fault.

But there are hardworking guys who love their games and simply want to make a positive difference for kids.

Early in the morning, you'll find Ray Rebeerio working on planes at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.

But its after he leaves NAS when he becomes an R-E-F where our story begins.

"It's a way to give back to community ... It's fun," he said.

Wait a minute ... did he just say its fun? I need to ask him about that.

Everybody hates you ... They're yelling at you ... how can it be fun..???

"It's like being a policeman: You better make the correct call at right time," he said.

Rebeerio is one of the best and its because he takes control of a game early.

"We will enforce unsportsmanlike conduct. Violators will be ejected. Coaches have responsibility to keep it under control," he said.

Reberio would rather be in the middle of it than watching. That's one reason why he felt empathy for the most famous officials of all time ... the replacements.

"I commend them. They tried their best. We'll leave it at that," he said.

He doesn't want to be noticed, he doesn't want the publicity, but tonight we honor Reberio and all local officials for a job well done ... at least until the next blown call.

"If you throw a flag, you better know the penalty and you better mark it off properly."

If you want to learn how to become a referee, go to the website or call commissioner Brad Kennington at (904) 881-2822 for more information.

First Coast News

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