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LEFT Stritesky keeps his eye on all parts of the field while working as an NFL official during a Chicago Bears game in 2011. BELOW As an umpire, Stritesky is responsible for placing it at the line of scrimmage prior to each play as well as enforcing penalties.

going to have a perfect game but that’s what you’re striving for. You want to get better each time you’re out there.” Meanwhile, NFL scouts were scouting Stritesky and his cohorts on Saturdays to see if they might be successful on Sundays. Stritesky was invited to work in NFL Europe in 2000 where he got to see a good part of the world. In 2006, he got the call to join the NFL ranks, where he now works as an umpire. Stritesky made the call to sell his first lakefront property in 2005, upgrading to a newer condo in the same community. Now he has another piece of land on the Bedford side of the lake where he hopes to build his retirement home. However, that’s still a ways off. Stritesky doesn’t have a retirement hat yet.

“I just knew that what I wanted to do, and it’s amazing what you can do if you want something.” Bruce Stritesky Stritesky first began looking for a way to reconnect with football in the late 1980s. He had played on the offensive line for legendary Northside coach Jim Hickam, and by 1988, Stritesky wanted back into the game in some capacity. He thought about coaching, but the demands of the job wouldn’t fit with his airline schedule. A friend suggested officiating and it turned out his parents knew Harry Bushkar, who headed up Virginia high school officials at the time. After a brief meeting with the veteran referee, Stritesky was officiating a scrimmage the following week. He soon had a steady schedule of recreational Pee Wee games, sometimes as many as six in a row on Saturdays. By 1990, Stritesky had his first high school varsity assignment and went on to become a fixture on Friday nights around the region. Another Roanoker, long-time official Dan Wooldridge, took notice and hired him to call college games in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. When Wooldridge moved up to supervise officials in the Big East Conference in 1996, Stritesky was hired there, too, reaching the top of amateur football. “I loved the challenge,” Stritesky said of officiating. “It’s kind of like golf. No matter what, you’re never 36 January • February 2012 | SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKER

Smith Mountain Laker JanFeb2012  

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia's premier lifestyle and entertainment publication. Visit our web site at www.smithmountainlake.com.

Smith Mountain Laker JanFeb2012  

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia's premier lifestyle and entertainment publication. Visit our web site at www.smithmountainlake.com.

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