Fuqua brother work together on gridiron

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 21, 2000

Jimmy, Carl and Chuck Fuqua do a lot of things together.

They can often be seen on Sunday morning at the Vidalia Church of Christ, and Carl and Chuck are next door neighbors.

They can also be seen on Friday nights wearing black and white stripes while officiating football games for the Mississippi Private School Association.

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Carl said the brothers began officiating games in 1993 after talking their uncle, Julius Cotton, who was a referee.

&uot;I don’t know what started it,&uot; Carl said. &uot;But we got to talking about calling games.&uot;

Jimmy said he was the first to take the plunge into officiating.

&uot;I started it out and then talked Carl into it and then Chuck started later,&uot; Jimmy said.

Now the officiating has moved beyond just football, and the brothers go from season to season calling every high school sport.

&uot;We call them all,&uot; Carl said. &uot;We just love all kinds of sports.&uot;

Moving from season to season is not as hard or confusing as it might sound Jimmy said, but it does take some adjustment.

&uot;When there is a foul in football you throw a flag. When there is a foul in basketball you blow a whistle.&uot; Jimmy said. &uot;In baseball you don’t have anything.&uot;

Though Chuck played football and baseball when he was young, he said he enjoys basketball the most of any of the sports.

&uot;I laughed when they first asked me to call basketball,&uot; Jimmy said. &uot;I was surprised at how much I liked it.&uot;

Chuck said making the transition between the seasons is not hard, because, &uot;we get pumped up to get ready for the next season.&uot;

Being on the field has not changed the Chuck watches games, he said.

&uot;I’ve never been one to yell too much at games,&uot; he said. &uot;But you are a little more into the game when you’ve been on the field – everybody ought to do it.

&uot;Sometimes when I’m watching the game I wish I was on the field.&uot;

All of the brothers said being on the field and being involved in the game is one of the most fun parts of officiating.

Carl said being on the field helps keep them in touch with the players.

And there have been changes in the game since the three brothers played high school sports.

&uot;The sportsmanship is getting better,&uot; Carl said. &uot;The kids are getting bigger too.&uot;

Chuck said interacting with the players is an important part of the game.

&uot;I try to help the players when I’m officiating,&uot; Chuck said. &uot;The kids show you respect.&uot;

Jimmy said the only thing that has not changed is the rules of the games.

&uot;It’s all different,&uot; Jimmy said. &uot;It’s not like it was when we played, but the rules haven’t changed.&uot;

The biggest change has been the introduction of aluminum bats and baseball, Jimmy said, and coaching styles have changed too.

The part of football Jimmy enjoys the most is passing.

&uot;I like to see them throw it through the air,&uot; he said &uot;That is where the game is for me.&uot;

Though the brothers very rarely get to work the same ball games, they all said they enjoy the camaraderie that develops in an officiating team

&uot;I like riding to the games together and cutting up,&uot; Carl said.

The crews become good friends Chuck said.

&uot;It is a good time with friends – the crew you are with,&uot; Chuck said.