|22 May 2009|
Honesty is a great quality in a referee and it's something Anne Panther has in spades.
Ask the 26-year-old what attracted her to refereeing and you get a refreshingly honest answer.
She wanted to meet men.
"Every time somebody asks me that question I start to laugh," says Panther.
"I was 15, and you know how 15-year-old girls are. I went to watch a basketball game and there was a female referee. All the men were talking to her so I thought maybe this would be good."
Panther is quick to add that she long ago abandoned any thoughts of meeting "Mr. Right" on the basketball court.
"From the moment I got my license I have never looked at this. I just go out there and do my job."
The seriousness with which Panther takes her job is obvious as she has quickly risen in the refereeing ranks.
Last summer she attended the 2nd annual FIBA Europe Camp for U15 Girls in Postojna, Slovenia.
"It was really great to have contact with girls from other countries. It was interesting for me to see how they do their jobs," she says.
"We got a lot of tips from instructors and coaches, really important advice about reading games, working on a three-man crew and much more."
The advice is paying off. Panther recently received her first nomination to referee a first division game in Germany.
"That was a very important goal for me to reach. In Germany there is only one female referee who is working in the first division. It was a great chance for me and I did a good job, everyone seemed satisfied."
Anne says her next goal is to receive her FIBA license, after that the sky's the limit. When asked what her ultimate goal is, she barely hesitates.
"The Olympics would be great. They have their own aura and I think it's what most sportsmen and women aim for. The Olympics are my biggest dream."