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Officiating is a family affair for the Blanchards in Grinnell

Officiating youth and high school sports can be a tough gig. But that didn't deter a Grinnell High School student from wanting to become one.

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Like many states across the country, Iowa is in desperate need of high school officials.

As experienced officials age out, there aren't many people lining up to replace them - except for Grinnell sophomore Beaux Blanchard. 

"When I turned 12, one of the first things I did was get certified to officiate soccer and I've been doing that for a long time," Beaux said. 

Beaux mainly officiates soccer, but recently decided to take on basketball, where he does youth, middle school and even non-varsity high school games. 

So where does this passion for officiating stem from? 

"So my dad has been an official for a long time now, and he got my sister into it a few years ago," Beaux said. 

For the Blanchards, officiating is a family affair. Beaux's dad, older sister and his younger brother are also refs.

They've even officiated games alongside each other. 

"It's great to have worked on so many games together," said Beaux's dad, Jeff. "Some of my favorite games, the whole crew was me and Mary and Beaux or me and Beaux and Aaron."

Sometimes, it can be hard to keep the parental instincts at bay in those situations. 

"I have overstepped in some situations and probably not stepped in in others," Jeff said.

But their family bond is also what helps make them a good crew. 

"Whenever you get on a crew especially in soccer, you have to have a lot of trust in each other, a lot of communication and a lot of it's non-verbal because you're not close to each other," Jeff said. "You don't have headsets and you want to be able to trust the people who are on the side, the person in the middle, and one of the great things about working with Beaux and Mary or working with Aaron is that I already have that ability to communicate and I already trust them."

Officiating allows Beaux to spend time with his family while being around the sport he loves.

But it's also taught him some valuable life lessons. 

"It's a lot of talking with people, trying to keep all the players happy," Beaux said. "There's a lot of big decisions that you always have to make. It's a high pressure environment which I find just rather fun."

With big tournaments and games already on his resume, this young official is just getting started. 

"I've also been told that I can probably go somewhere if I keep up with this," Beaux said. 

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