I’m not entirely sure that I would have graduated from Western Albemarle High School if it hadn’t been for wrestling and lacrosse. During high school I wanted to enter our county’s vocational education program. However, students had to be bussed to the county’s vocational training center, and the buses returned too late in the day for vocational students to participate in athletics. Because I was literally in love with sport, I remained enrolled in “college prep” classes. My life would likely have turned out very differently had I taken the vocational route. Though I still love building things and working with my hands, and have a deep respect for all those who undertake such work, in a very direct way, it might have been athletics that opened up for me the life of the mind.
My wrestling career at the 135 lb weight class ended in high school with a severely hyper-extended elbow in the semi-finals of the Virginia Region II tournament. I wrestled my final competition match with my right arm taped to my body, and was soundly whipped by my opponent. In college I was, and I remain, a rabid Iowa Hawkeye wrestling fan. During graduate school I became involved with wrestling again as an official. In 2009 I was elected to represent the Austin Wrestling Officials in the Texas Region IV tournament, and I have officiated in the post-season every year of my officiating career. I am certified to referee wrestling through the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. In 2012 I was one of two officials selected to represent the Mountain Region at the state wrestling tournament.
My lacrosse career continued in college, where I played club ball for the Hawkeye Men’s Lacrosse team. I also became involved with lacrosse officiating during graduate school, and officiated in the Texas High School Lacrosse League for three years. I am certified to referee men’s lacrosse through US Lacrosse. I am also a member of the Collegiate Officials Committee and officiate NCAA and MCLA collegiate lacrosse.
I am certified to officiate both wrestling and lacrosse in the North Carolina High School Athletics Association.
When I need dopamine hits I go fly fishing. Fishing was probably one of the defining features of my childhood. I grew up in the shadow of Purgatory Mountain, along the James River, in Buchanan, Virginia. That section of the James has some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the nation, and nearby mountain hollows hide some of the best trout fishing a person could hope for. I grew up fishing for smallmouth, catfish, and trout. During the summers I fly fished with my grandfather in western Pennsylvania. In years of fishing, I don’t recall either of us actually catching a fish in each other’s presence.
Now I support a fishing-related conservation organization, Trout Unlimited, through volunteer work. TU seeks to protect coldwater fish species and their habitats. They’re a wonderful organization. I also volunteer with Project Healing Waters, which is a group that teaches disabled veterans how to fly fish. Project Healing Waters recently held its largest event ever in Cherokee, NC, and the vets and guides all had a great time.
I also spend a lot of my “free” time biking, both road biking and mountain biking, and have quickly become acclimated to western North Carolina’s sometimes devastating climbs. I have also been duped into taking up adventure racing, and compete in 4-6 12- and 24-hour races each year.
“D-minus! Dangit, Bobby, I expected better from someone who doesn’t have any extracurricular activities.”
-Hank Hill, King of the Hill