Volunteer spotlight: Ron McIntire
Each year Spokane Hoopfest is lucky enough to gain the helping hand of upwards of 3,000 volunteers to make the Best Basketball Weekend on Earth well… the best! Many of these volunteers have chosen to dedicate their time year after year. One man, Ron McIntire, has been with us since the very beginning. Going on his 30th year volunteering during Hoopfest, Ron truly embodies the spirit of Hoopfest and the joy of the Spokane community.
When he’s not lending a hand to our team on the courts, Ron works as the Broker Owner at Choice Realty. He’s been one of the Top 100 Realtors in the Spokane region for the entirety of his 11-year career. Ron enjoys contributing to the community of Spokane in other ways as well. You can find him behind the piano and keyboard at Westgate Christian Church during services. 3on3 games aren’t the only hoops that Ron enjoys watching, he is a big Zags fan too. So how did Ron first hear about what would become the World’s Biggest 3on3 Tournament all those years ago? He was scouted.
“I was recruited by K.W. Knorr who originally found most of the court monitors for the first year. He knew that I was vice-president of the campus club – Circle K when I was in college at Seattle Pacific University. He informed me that this new 3on3 basketball tournament was going to be a big fundraiser for Special Olympics, which was a definite hot button for me. I was driven to become as involved as possible by my desire to see support for athletes with disabilities and my love of all things basketball,” says Ron.
For years now, Ron has held one of the most important positions within our volunteer ranks as the lead Eligibility Marshal. This position is a little bit different from our usual Court Monitors. Instead of watching games and making direct calls, Ron is stationed in the information center ready to listen to any concerns or questions about players and games. Ron’s had the responsibility of making some tough calls when it comes down to how games are played, or whether players can play fairly in their brackets.
“As the player Eligibility Marshal I take great satisfaction out of making “right” for someone. I have often found myself in the middle of some young person’s problem where they were disqualified from a game, or a team that comes to the information center after experiencing a heart-breaking loss that may or may not have been justified. Sometimes I can reverse an incorrect decision made by a Court Monitor and restore order, other times I become a sounding board for the disappointed players and do my best to help them learn a valuable lesson about sportsmanship,” explains Ron.
Something that probably wouldn’t be easy for most, Ron handles with a smile on his face.
“Ron is a key member of the Hoopfest volunteer team. He brings 30 years of marshal experience to our tournament. His mixture of fairness, intelligence and courtesy lends itself perfectly to the role of an eligibility marshal,” explains Chad Smith, Operations Manager at Spokane Hoops.
With 30 years of experience under his belt he has definitely heard it all, and seen some pretty neat things on and off the courts. Ron’s favorite memory came a couple of years ago while stationed at the information center.
“I met a player who flew up from Los Angeles to play with his team. The problem is that he was registered 5’8’ on a 6’ under Elite Division (that’s not allowed). His teammate told me that he was friends with the guy who runs the tournament and if I didn’t let him play there would be problems. I went directly to Rick Steltenpohl and asked him what to do. I’ll never forget when he said to me, ‘It’s your tournament until Sunday night, do whatever you believe is right,’” says Ron.
Even in his tough position, Ron can’t get enough 3on3 and has chosen to come back each year.
“Hoopfest is such a great community event. Collectively we’ve raised millions of dollars for Special Olympics and other charitable causes. I love the 3on3 game because it’s true ‘back yard pick up’ basketball and something that anyone can participate in. I’ve met hundreds if not thousands of people who are genuinely some of the best folks in the Inland North West.” Ron continues, “I love the way Hoopfest trains and empowers people to work together to create the largest 3on3 Basketball Tournament in the world. It’s a flurry of activity before the first tip-off until the last backboard is removed and the last piece of trash is thrown away. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment for all of us who contribute as a team to make it happen. Ultimately, what keeps me coming back year after year is the people of Spokane and the surrounding areas who come to our community to play this great game together.”
We want to thank all those, like Ron, that work tirelessly before, during and after the Best Basketball Weekend on Earth. This event truly could not happen without your time, talents and dedication to Spokane Hoopfest.
You can be a member of #Hoopfest2019, head to our www.spokanehoopfest.net to register as a General Volunteer or Court Monitor today!