“Officials love the game of volleyball. I have always viewed it as a way to help others learn the game that I love.”
As a young child, Rachel Kirk watched her mom play in adult volleyball leagues at the YMCA and begged her to sign her up for a team. They would pepper together on the sidelines before the games began. During middle school, Rachel started playing volleyball for a parochial team and then joined a club when she was 13.
She remembers officiating matches during club season, and getting on the stand for club tournaments as an R1. Her coach was an Official and he would work as the R2 when he put any of the players on the stand.
Rachel continued playing through high school and then participated in recreation leagues with some family during her college years. Rachel started coaching club volleyball during her last year of college and enjoyed it so much that she coached club for seven more years, along with high school volleyball for four years. In 2016 she went back to school for her master’s degree, and couldn’t make practices work with her schedule, so she started officiating to stay in the game of volleyball.
“I fell in love with officiating and decided that I preferred it over coaching. You can set your schedule and don’t have to be in the gym 6-7 days a week if you don’t want to work,” said Rachel.
It started as a love for travel. Officiating volleyball Rachel a way to fund vacations. She officiates club, high school and college inthe St. Louis area. The St. Louis area is great for volleyball since there is boys and girls club and high school competition, plus men’s and women’s collegiate volleyball. Officials in the area can work from the end of August until the following July almost every weekend and several days during the week in the fall and spring.
Rachel’s love for officiating soon evolved into more than just the love for travel. The people she met along the way have become her volleyball family.
“We will all work the tournament and go out to dinner after a long day or sit in the referee room when we have a break and catch up. Some of us will text each other to plan our tournaments for the club season. I vacation during the summer with three other volleyball officials before we go work the summer championship tournaments. I have a mom and sister that also officiate volleyball. It is fun to have a family that understands the game and I can talk about the matches with them,” shared Rachel.
Officials are a tight-knit…