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Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

DACULA -- For the Overbys, family time includes a basketball.

High school sports always pull kids away from their families. Add AAU to the mix and one serious child in sports can highjack any family's time.

This Dacula family has two high-school aged players, Breanna, a senior, and Aubrey III, a freshman playing varsity. They both play AAU.

Then there is dad, Aubrey II. The basketball official complicates the family schedule exponentially, adding the ever-changing wrinkle of his weekly games.

There is also a wife and a 9-year-old daughter. Their schedules seem simple.

Just wrangling the two high school players and their father together on a weeknight takes patience. Dacula can't have a varsity game, but one always practices late into the evening. Then, Aubrey II must check his schedule. Youth, middle school and freshmen games need officials, too.

The best place to meet them? The gym at Dacula high school.

That's where this family meets.

During the week, Aubrey II will come home after everyone is in bed and the weekends are booked for everyone.

But because of Dad's senior standing in the Multi-County Basketball Officials Association he now has worked it out so he doesn't miss his children's games.

"I've been able to work it out these last couple of years I am doing a lot more middle school ball or some sub-varsity ball. This year I have only missed one of their games," Aubrey II says. "Usually, when they were younger, I would look at the schedule and pick and choose which game I would go to."

Breanna, a senior, appreciates her father watching from the stands this season. When she tore her anterior cruciate ligament last season, he wasn't there.

"I like him better when he is at my games," she says. "He'll talk to me from the stands and he'll give me motivation."

The younger Aubrey III still acts too cool to mind, but will admit he trusts his father's judgment and listens.

"He comes home and tells me about what I need to be working on and what the competition (across the state) is like," Aubrey III says. "He has reffed a lot of people and players who went D-I."

Plus, Aubrey II played hoops in college at Cal Poly University and he played his high school ball with former NBA player and coach Bryon Scott at Morningside High School in Inglewood, Calif.

Aubrey first taught his wife, then his children to love basketball. This crazy schedule is his fault.

"When we first got married, my wife couldn't stand basketball but she has learned to love it, since they started playing," he says. "We all enjoy basketball."

A slight understatement.

Even at home, the Lakers are often on the television and basketball is the topic of choice.

Aubrey II wishes he had his new officials' perspective during his playing days and tries to imbue his children with the lessons he lacked.

"He tells us everything," Breanna says. "While we are playing the game, he tells us what to do and what not to do."

The top lessons: "Get on their good side. Don't argue with them. Be patient with them, they can't see the whole floor," Breanna says.

Aubrey III admits he gets frustrated with officials and forgets his father's lessons during games.

"(Dad) says I yell at them too much, but I don't think so," Aubrey III says.

It's something the elder Aubrey did when he played. And it's something he would change.

"I whined and cried. I wish I would have known a referee to tell me the psychology of officiating. The more you cry the less calls you are going to get," Aubrey II says. "As an official you get out on the court and we are all human. There are a lot of judgment calls you can make."

Basketball rarely stops for the Overbys. There are always games to play and officiate with AAU games bookending the high school season. Plus, Breanna and Aubrey III are both dealing with college recruiting.

Even 9-year-old Kendal plays basketball and Aubrey II makes it to her games on Saturday inbetween officials' meetings and games. And this crazy basketball life even extends to Aubrey II's job. When the state championship hats, visors and trophies are handed out at the end of the year, there he is as a representative of State Farm Insurance.

He won't be there long. More games await. For everyone.