Monday, August 29, 2005


Welcome to Illegal Screen...the only officiating blog I can find (and I've looked some).

The idea to do this blog actually came to me last year. Throughout the basketball season, I would write postmortems of a good number of my games on my regular blog. Some of the posts were interesting and oft-visited. Some were little notes to myself. But as I wrote, I thought two things:

1. The reffing posts didn't seem to fit in with my other musings about the world. They felt qualitatively different, somehow.

2. I simply couldn't find an officiating blog out there...anywhere. A Google search on "officiating blog" yields many results...but almost all of them are team's fan blogs bitching endlessly about officiating. I couldn't find anything by any actual officials taking us through the vicissitudes of the avocation--refs speaking about their games, preparation, opinions, difficulties, pet peeves...the fabric of a season in stripes.

I want that blog to exist. So I've decided to write it.

I also want to record, for my own records, what I've been doing well and what I need to work on. A good ref keeps a journal of his/her work, but I've never been disciplined enough to do it. That all changes here.

Therefore, I present to you: Illegal Screen.

Who I am:

I'm a high school teacher who lives in the suburbs of a big U.S. city. I officiate girls' basketball, and was promoted back to the varsity list for this upcoming season. Since I've just been promoted to varsity ball, I'm likely to get some low-quality games next year (first place against tenth place, eighth place against ninth place, etc.), but that's fine by me--I haven't earned my way higher yet. I have no desire to officiate anything higher than high school ball, as I don't think the travel I'd have to do as a college official would leave me the time and energy it woudl take to maintain good teaching. I also don't want to cross over to officiate boys' basketball, as the massive testosterone in the gym doesn't feel right. I may consider trying it later on, but not soon.

I don't want to tell anything more about myself than that. There will be no identifying information here about me or any schools, partners, associations, etc. I won't get into ref politics or association intrigue (and there's a good deal of that in every association). I'll limit myself to:

1. Talking about my games and my progress.
2. Mulling over what evaluators tell me.
3. In the off-season, I'll chime in occasionally to discuss issues of interest to officials. I don't want just to rehash what I've seen in every month's Referee magazine, but I'd like to be here to chat about referee issues as they pop up. For instance, if a sportscaster says something innacurate or stupid to berate an official, I'll be here to slam the guy. (I'm looking at YOU, Joe Theismann.)

I will keep the comments on to take in opinions and questions. I will not hesitate to delete pinhead comments, of course.

Down the road, I'd consider expanding this to include other an in-season official is always blogging about his/her sport. But not yet. Let's nurture this sucker first.

Glad you came by, and I hope to see you here often.

(Thanks, Jim, for the name.)


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