“That was also a great opportunity,’’ he said. “I got to work with two of my best friends in that tournament.’’
Also working that title game was James Fisher of Casey and Kirk Hacker of Neoga.
But this week’s tournament at the Mary Miller Gymnasium gave Rodriguez a special opportunity.
“I got to meet some old friends that I haven’t seen in a very, very long time,’’ he said, remembering his days at Bismarck-Henning. “I went there until my eighth grade year and then we moved south. There were some people that I saw this week that I hadn’t seen since we moved.
“I’m also close enough that my family was able to come up here and watch a few games.’’
In his 15-year career, Rodriguez has worked Danville Area Community College games at the Mary Miller Gymnasium, but his five games, culminating with the fifth-place game between Wayne County Community College and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College on Saturday were a unique experience.
“I’m just glad that I got this opportunity,’’ he said.
Most of the officials that work the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in the past have gone on to do NCAA Division I games. As a matter of fact, K.B. Burdette Jr. and Brad Gaston, who have worked the National Tournament before are regulars in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“I just mainly do the junior college games,’’ Rodriguez said. “A lot of these guys haven’t seen their homes in 12-15 days. I’ve got three sons that I’m very dedicated to seeing them play their athletics and I don’t know if I could be away from home that long.’’
Rodriguez says his oldest son, who is 13, is probably going to be a baseball player for Casey-Westfield, but he wasn’t sure about the other two.