St. Ignace teenager hopes to make the NBA, as a referee

Published: Feb. 19, 2020 at 10:27 PM EST
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Jackson Ingalls, a junior at La Salle High School in St. Ignace, is a huge basketball fan. He's loves the game so much, that it has taken him on an interesting path.

"I love being around the sport,” said Ingalls. “When you walk into a gym and there's a band, it's packed and you've got cheerleaders and student sections and coaches going up and getting crazy, it's a great atmosphere. I love being a part of it."

Ingalls is the youngest referee with the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He started with both organizations in the past year, but officiating has been a passion of his almost his entire life.

"My parents are coaches for varsity teams and when I was little, I couldn't play on a varsity team; so I said, why don't I ref so I can do something,” said Ingalls. “I got with it and went to camps and I love it. It's something that I really love to do."

While officiating games with the MHSAA and the GLIAC this season, Ingalls has been immediately accepted by his fellow officials.

"It's great, the officials have really taken me in well and I’ve got very positive feedback, welcoming arms from a lot of officials who have been willing to work with me," said Ingalls.

Ingalls doesn't want to stop after high school, he hopes to make officiating more than just a hobby or a side job.

"My dream is to be able to referee full time, so whether that be the NBA, Division I Men, Division I Women, just full time,” said Ingalls. “I think that would be the best thing ever and I’m going to work and try to do that."

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