He was supposed to be watching his little brother play basketball, but Dave Hemberger found himself studying the referees more than the game.
Intrigued by guys in striped shirts, Hemberger jumped at the chance to become a one when approached by another official.
"Once I got started, I found I loved officiating basketball," said Hemberger, 51, who owns Hemberger Construction of Hastings. He said he enjoys the chance to meet people as he travels from gym to gym.
Recently, the Nebraska School Activities Association recognized Hemberger for 26 years as a basketball referee. He didn't realize it had been that long until he received that award.
Hemberger said the mechanics of officiating were easy to pick up, but it's the judgment calls that are hard to learn.
"You can't be taught judgment," he said.