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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-They can be the most loved and hated people at a football game. The referees whose job is to make sure coaches and football players are abiding by the rules. In the South, football is more than just a sport. It’s a part of life so when a ref makes a call it can change your whole attitude in an instant. Larry Bell who has been referring for over 54 years remembers a time when the fear of the crowd got the better of him.

“It was one of my first games a lady from Aberdeen who had an umbrella and I thought she was going to beat me to death with that umbrella, but she never did bother, but I was scared,” says Larry Bell

But Larry knew there was no room for fear when officiating a game.

“It takes getting over being scared before you can start officiating because all you are doing is when you are out there you are taking care of yourself getting out of the way and whatever,” says Bell.

As Larry reflects back on his finest memories on the field he says football has changed a lot over the years.

“Everything is faster everything can kick further they can throw farther and they run faster and you just have to be ready to go,” says Bell.

One thing that should never change in football is a great relationship between a ref and a coach.

“You can be a really dumb guy, but if you get along with both sidelines the coaches and they know you are going to call holding on him and holding on him or whatever it might be if it happens you’ll call it then you’ve got it made with them because they trust you and you like to go to their places,” says Bell.

So if you want to follow in the foot steps of Larry Bell then here are some tips to remember.

“It’s better not to talk to a coach other than who is your captains and what is your situation. You’ve got to take care of yourself and learn how to get in position and then call the game,” says Bell.

Larry plans on retiring after this football season.

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