Theresa Bentz has found the best way to get something done is to do it herself. That's why the commissioner of the fledgling D.C. Board of Officials for Women's Sports finds herself out refereeing almost every day.
"That's why I took the job (as commissioner)," explained Bentz, who resides at 9619 McAlpine Rd. in Silver Spring. "I was just going to fill in for people if they were sick. But I'm out almost every afternoon and evening."
Bentz, 52, a veteran of 25 years of officiating, became commissioner when the new group replaced the D.C. Board of Women's Officials two years ago. She handles more than 200 referees in field hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball and a limited amount of swimming in Maryland, and volleyball in the District of Columbia. She assigns officials on the high school, college and recreational levels.
Even with her dedication to officiating, Bentz raised a family of seven children. Only 13-year-old John still lives at home.
"It used to be a big joke," explained Bentz, who has five grandchildren and a twin sister, Marie Wildes, who is a women's coach at Catholic University. "People would call and ask, 'Is your mother home?' and the kids would answer, 'What's a mother?' Actually, it was only the past five years I really got busy."
"I've grown up with it - I've been used to it," said her husband Jack, 53, who readily admits his wife beats him in tennis. "She's been doing it ever since we've been married (31 years ago). She has an awful lot of energy - more than me. You know we have seven children."
Bentz wstimates she presently puts in eight hours a day, seven days a week. She claims organization is the key to her success, and she enlists the aid of two telephone lines, a telephone message machine and a crockpot, which is used to cook dinner each night.
Bentz' interest in sports was nurtured in area recreational leagues more than 30 years ago, where she played field hockey and basketball. Very little was offered then in the way of women's sports.
Eventually, Bentz turned to officiating because the burden of a family become too great for her to continue in competition. "It's a good place for old athletes to go," Bentz said. "At first it wasn't time-consuming. As you know girls' sports are becoming very big."
It's the growth of girls' sports that forces Bentz to frequently don the black-and-white striped official's uniform. There simply aren't enough officials for girls' sports.
Bentz is continually seeking new referees and she holds clinics twice annually in each sport to train new officials. With the help of Pat Berry, who supervises physical education in Montgomery County, Bentz scheduled adult education courses in softball, volleyball and basketball officiating. But insufficient turnout forced the classes to be cancelled.
Just as Bentz has seen women's sports grow since she first participated, the wages of officials has improved during the past 25 years. Bentz was paid $5 a game when she started as a referee; now girls' officials receive $24 a contest in high school and recreational leagues, and $27 for college games.
Bentz receives 8 per cent of all referee's fees for her position as commissioner and, of course, full payment when she officiates at a game.
Bentz urges anybody - male or female - interested in becoming a girls' official to contact her at 587-0074.