Alumni Profile • Ed Mosley '69
Staying in the game

Ed MosleyEd Mosley '69 likes to get up close and personal with organized school sports: close enough to get kicked in the head (once, during a wrestling match), personal enough to have coaches yell in his face-and thank him (more than once). He's been this close and personal for four decades, and he plans to keep coming back for more.

In April, the Michigan High School Athletic Association honored Mosley for 40 years of service as an official at its sporting events.

That award, though, doesn't begin to recognize all of Mosley's roles in promoting sportsmanship in the state. He has officiated not only a range of sports, including football, basketball, wrestling and volleyball, but also for a range of levels: elementary school to college. A heavyweight wrestler at Calvin, he coached wrestling for a time at Calvin Christian High School. After college, as an officer in the Grand Rapids Police Department, he started a boxing club-where he was coach and official-for city kids at a neighborhood youth center.

"Sports is my hobby," he said. "Officiating has been a more active way to stay involved than just cheering from the sidelines or following the box scores."

Active it has been. Most of the years Mosley refereed basketball (his favorite sport to officiate) there were two officials per game, not three, as there are today. Yes, the game was slower 20 and 30 years ago, but it required both officials to travel the whole court the whole game, Mosley said. Teamwork was critical.

With teamwork in mind, Mosley talked one of his partners on the police force into becoming a referee. For a number of years, the officiating team of Bob Staudacher and Ed Mosley worked basketball games all over west Michigan. "We knew each other's shortcomings and 'longcomings,'" Mosley laughed, "so we could be consistent in enforcing the rules." The pair was featured in articles in Referee magazine and the Grand Rapids Press in 1984.

Police work supplied Mosley with skills that have made his 40 years of officiating largely stress-free. He can't recall a really bad situation while wearing a striped shirt. "As a police officer, I've been trained to use self-restraint when dealing with people in a variety of situations. In a tense ballgame, some people might yell and scream at you, but they don't want to hurt you. On the street, it's different. There, people might really want to hurt you."

Still, Mosley said that the biggest change he's seen in school sports over the years is that today, everyone is more intense. "Coaches do more yelling, players are more driven to win and fans are more intense also."

While all that intensity might make a sport more exciting, Mosley thinks it comes with a cost. "There's not as much emphasis on sportsmanship or on being involved in a sport just because you love that sport. Instead, there's more attention paid to winning."

Though Mosley retired as a sergeant from the Grand Rapids police force in 2003, he's not turning in his referee's whistle yet. As long as he's able, he said he will continue to officiate volleyball matches across west Michigan and amateur boxing matches for the USA Boxing Association all over the country.