Family stays in the game
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
A mother and her two daughters in their 20s met in Hays Thursday to spend a few days together as a family.
But it won't be a typical weekend shopping trip for Vicki Hubin and her daughters, Jolene Hubin Bannister and Kelsey Hubin.
Instead, they will spend a lot of time at Fort Hays State University's Gross Memorial Coliseum at the Class 1A state high school volleyball tournament.
They won't be in the stands cheering on their favorite team. Instead, they will be on the ladder or on the floor as officials.
For the second consecutive year, all three Hubins were chosen to officiate the Division I and II state volleyball competition for the smallest schools in the state.
"This is so fun," Mom said. "It's such a great accomplishment to get to (officiate) at state, and for all three of us to be here ... it really means a lot."
Coincidentally, the Hubin trio won't get to cheer for its hometown team -- and Vicki's daughters' alma mater.
Dighton qualified for the Division II final eight at GMC, but "we can't have anything to do with them," Vicki said of the Hornets. "Here, it's all business."
Business and pleasure for Vicki has been in a gym for a long time. She played volleyball and basketball in college, so they were a natural fit for her daughters, who played both sports at Dighton.
So, too, was officiating.
Vicki is in her 25th year of officiating volleyball this year, so both daughters have grown up with it.
"I remember going to everything that mom reffed," Jolene said. "It was just something we did."
"They even left me in the gym once," Kelsey added.
Mother and daughters laughed while reminiscing Thursday, especially when talking about young Kelsey falling asleep in a corner at a volleyball match when Vicki was coaching the Dighton High School team.
When the coach went to count heads on the bus, they realized they were missing one.
"I had everyone else's kid accounted for but my own," Vicki said.
Vicki coached both her daughters in volleyball and basketball in high school, then continued officiating after they graduated.
When Jolene went to college, she chose officiating over other part-time jobs.
"It worked out perfect," Jolene said.
"You want to stay involved (in athletics)," added Jolene, who like her younger sister played both volleyball and basketball at Dighton. While officiating, she said, "the adrenalin starts flowing, kind of like when you're playing."
The Hubins are unsure if there are any other mother-daughter combos officiating together but know the trio is unusual.
"So it's pretty neat," Jolene said.
Jolene now is a second-grade teacher in Hiawatha in northeast Kansas, where she lives with her husband, Rusty Bannister, and 10-month-old daughter, Jaylee Jo. So she doesn't get to officiate as often with her mom anymore.
Kelsey, an FHSU student, moved into that role a few years ago and after classes at FHSU, meets her mom in towns around northwest Kansas to officiate high school volleyball matches.
Coaches vote on officials from those who indicate they want to work a state event.
Vicki and Jolene put their names on that list, and Kelsey was chosen as a line judge by the 1A state tournament director, Brad Haynes.
Out of the 48 officials working today's pool play matches in Classes 1A through 6A around the state, 32 are chosen to stay on and work Saturday's semifinals and finals. Two of those in Hays are Vicki Hubin and her oldest daughter, who will be joined by younger sister Kelsey as a line judge.
"It's a huge honor to be selected (for state)," Vicki said. "We're excited."