On and off the court

Refereeing intramural sports gives Regan Shaffer the confidence to pursue her dreams.

By Jesse Berlin

Regan Shaffer and Michael Thomas
Regan Shaffer, left, and Michael Thomas. Courtesy photo.

In just one year at the University of Missouri, Regan Shaffer has gone from an avid high school athlete to a leading intramural basketball official, thanks to her involvement at MizzouRec.

Shaffer, an architectural studies major from Leeton, was active in high school basketball, softball and track and field before coming to MU.

“Mizzou had always been one of the schools that was high up on my list just because it’s big,” said Shaffer. “It’s very different from my small town, and I kind of wanted to get that experience.”

When she arrived on campus last fall, Shaffer was looking for a job. She decided to look into MizzouRec on the recommendation of a friend who had worked there. She came across a job posting for an intramural sports official and met Michael Thomas, former MizzouRec sports and competition coordinator.

Thomas recalled Shaffer being nervous for the interview but he could see she was qualified to take on the role. “I could tell sports were a big part of her life through high school,” said Thomas. “I felt like her background and attitude made her a good fit for the official position.”

Quick study
Prior to her job at MizzouRec, Shaffer’s officiating experience was limited to supervising elementary school games. Once hired, however, she began officiating intramural flag football. At first, she said, she had no idea what she was doing.

“I was just out there doing my best every day,” Shaffer said. “I was just trying to learn and absorb everything that people were telling me because I was just trying to get better.”

As Shaffer became more adjusted to the job, Thomas recommended she pursue more opportunities. She ended the season by officiating a regional tournament in Oklahoma with NIRSA, a leader in collegiate recreation, just three months after being introduced to the sport.

‘Glad to be here’
After football season ended, Shaffer started officiating intramural basketball and was recruited to officiate a NIRSA regional basketball tournament hosted by Mizzou. There she impressed the national tournament committee. They selected her to join 51 other student officials from all over the country — some who had five years of experience — to officiate the national tournament in April in Maryland.

“I was worried that it was going to be crazy. I thought I was going to be insanely tired and overwhelmed,” Shaffer said. “But as soon as I got out onto the court and games started to go well for me, I thought, ‘Okay, this is good. I’m glad to be here.’”

Thomas said Shaffer’s growth as an intramural sports official has been remarkable. “Very few first-year students just ‘get it’ like Regan does,” he said. “Regan is very competitive and tough on herself, but I think her drive is what has helped her reach so much success in her first-year officiating.”

Will Hollis, Joaquin Guzman and Regan Shaffer
From left: Officials Will Hollis (Angelo State), Joaquin Guzman (University of Texas-San Antonio) and Regan Shaffer at the NIRSA Regional Championships held at MizzouRec. Courtesy photo.

Building toward a career
Outside intramural sports, Shaffer is an architectural studies major in the College of Arts & Science. She admires campus landmarks like Jesse Hall and Memorial Union and the work that went into them.

“I love architecture,” she said. “I know that’s what I want to do. I just hope to get certified and grow in my career.”

Shaffer is enjoying her Mizzou experience. “I love it here. It’s amazing,” she said. “Me and my roommate have become really close. She’s also an architecture major, so we also we get to share that.”

Looking forward, Shaffer has applied to be an intramural sports lead, supervising other intramural sports officials. “I’ve grown so much as a person,” she said. “I’m hoping to get that lead job to help younger officials develop like I was helped this year.”

Shaffer often runs into people she officiates on campus and enjoys seeing familiar faces. “It helps make the large population that we have here seem a little bit smaller,” she said.

Most of all Shaffer enjoys the relationships she’s formed at MizzouRec. “I love the people that I work with,” she said. “It’s honestly just a good time, every time I’m there.”

Want to work at the Rec? Learn more about joining Team Mizzou! New positions posting in August.

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