How do I begin? First and foremost I have loved and respected BJ Little as a friend and officiating partner for close to 20 years now. We first met in the early 1990’s and I have watched him grow from a very young man into a husband, a father, a coach, an official, and now into a justice of the peace. The AZ Republic ran a story in their sports page about his election. http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2014/08/30/winslow-football-coach-little-now-public-servant/14846433/
I must say that I take great pride in calling BJ a friend. I take great pride in his accomplishments and great pride in seeing what he has grown to be. I will say we had no particular reason to be friends but somehow we connected almost immediately when we first met when BJ was beginning to explore high school basketball officiating.
Ted Pettet and I were long-time partners in refereeing high school basketball and we took great pride in mentoring and working with BJ and his partner Arlin Rogers. They would spend large amounts of time with us as we discussed ways of officiating and how to appear confident, in control, and call a good game. Ted and I sort of passed the torch on to BJ and Arlin as Ted moved and I continued on without a full time partner.
BJ, Ted, and I became a go to three-man officiating team back when the AIA actually had three-man crews for playoffs. We worked a tremendous amount of games together and we studied and studied, drew up a variety of situations and I honestly believe there was no one better then our three-man crew in the region.
Prior to those times, BJ and I would work many a tournament game together and we would get to hook up for some very high energy full throttle games. When BJ first started out, he was quite rough around the edges when it came to having those find fault with our performance. I don’t think he would mind me saying that since he soon learned to control his emotions and became the top official in the region. We had a blast and I always would say to anybody that if somebody came after us, I wanted to be working with BJ because we would win that fight. We have had so many great experiences together as a team on the road and I hope that I get more opportunities to work with BJ this coming November and December.
Outside of basketball I have watched his children grow, have celebrated his accomplishments and we have shared many a humbling experience. We have had down times where jobs were iffy and not certain what any of us were going to be doing. I have seen with my own eyes, BJ come through the fire and develop into a young man that I look up to. And also by fire, I mean BJ literally came through a fire when he served as a volunteer fire fighter and was severely injured while fighting the fire that burnt a building to the ground in Winslow and turned into the “Standing On the Corner” park.
Recently I have worked several of his football games since he is the head coach of Winslow, and BJ is passionate and loves his kids. He works hard, prepares even when he must know that his talent is not necessarily as good as other teams. He always gives 100% and practices and teaches great sportsmanship. He does all this while having a strong faith in God. He is an excellent role model who has an inner strength that comes from his faith in God and his devotion to family. BJ is a quiet man one who does not seek out the limelight and who always appears to be deep in thought. He is the deepest of thinkers and I know that he, like me, has struggles but rises up and slays the doubts. I look forward to more adventures on the road once basketball season comes around. We will go out with a bang as he winds down to start his new career.
When BJ told me that he was running for the soon to be vacated position of Justice of the Peace in Winslow I just knew that he would be elected and become a great JP. He has had great experience from his days of being a probation officer, counselor, coach, and official. He has a caring attitude and will serve the folks of Winslow well. His statement on running shows the man he is: http://www.azjournal.com/2014/08/01/boyce-bj-little-is-seeking-election-as-precinct-2-justice-of-the-peace/
BJ and I are as different as some may be. BJ is black, I’m white. BJ is a registered Democrat, I’m a registered republican (Washington, DC take note). BJ is U of A, I’m ASU. BJ is a stud athlete, me not so much. (ok not at all) BJ is muscular, I’m scrawny. BJ could hit the rim, me the bottom of the net. BJ doesn’t drink, I drink. BJ is from Arizona, I’m an Ohio guy. BJ is young, I am old. BJ is married to Terri, I once dated a girl named Teri. (I suppose that is more alike then not alike) He has son named Timothy, I am named Timothy. (hmm) Enough.
What brings us together are our core values of faith, family, and caring attitudes that bridges all. We both have wonderful, supportive wives, and we both have two wonderful children. We are brothers (I know we don’t quite look alike) who genuinely care about each other and I am truly blessed to call him friend. So BJ, congrats on your soon to be Justice of the Peace position. You will always be fondly remembered by me and my family. Best wishes on doing great things for your community.