Chickasha Referee With ALS Honored At Last Game
CHICKASHA, Oklahoma - A beloved Chickasha referee has officiated his last game.
Carl Phelps, 63, was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2015 and has since lost the ability to speak.
“I won’t quit living until it’s my time,” said Phelps through an app that provides a voice to his texts.
“That’s his biggest loss. He can’t eat either. He doesn’t miss eating, but he misses talking,” said Carl’s wife Janice.
Through a writing board and signed letters, the couple can communicate.
Carl had been a referee for the past 11 years, including a full year after his ALS diagnosis.
He told News 9, working games with a debilitating disease became too difficult.
The Oklahoma Coaches Association Girls All-Star game in Tulsa on Wednesday would be his last game.
Carl called Wednesday’s game one of the greatest nights of his life.
“My grandchildren were saying ‘Go Grampa,’” said the former Moore High School Hoops standout.
Phelps posed for pictures with players Wednesday and received a card from another player he didn’t know.
That college bound player’s letter to Phelps said she’d remember him during every hard work out and how he pushed through his challenges.
Even though he’s retired, Carl’s goals haven’t changed.
“Make as much a difference in others’ lives as possible,” wrote Phelps on his board.