Friday, January 06, 2006

Game Log 1/6/06: A deflowering

JV and Varsity games today. Winless at Undefeated. Looked to be a routine, unspecial night. But then my partner for both games--who I knew wasn't on the varsity list, but rather was filling in on a shorthanded Friday for the varsity game--announced to me that tonight was his first varsity game.

I remember my first varsity game. It was my second year--long ago. However, I was put with another second-year official who was doing her first varsity game. We were both nervous. We let too much go. We got hollered at at halftime by a coach and didn't T him. The second half was tolerable. But my first big-school game, later that year, I had a strong veteran partner on my side, and it was a wonderful experience. I look back on that fondly.

So I wanted my partner to have a good game. I congratulated him on his varsity debut. He said he was nervous--to be expected--and I said we had a good opportunity to work out any kinks in the JV game. We did. I never had a problem with him.

Two smooth games. Both were blowouts, but smooth blowouts. The JV game featured very poor play, and Green lost something like 50-16...but I could tell Green was thrilled with the result. I bet they had never had 16 points in a game least based on the raucousness of the crowd's response to every hoop (including at least four wild banker 18-footers).

The second game was absolutely ideal for my partner's debut. White rushed out to a 15-0 lead, but then Green hung around for a good long time, actually trailing by only 12 at half. So the game was close, but not so close as to add any unnecessary pressure to the occasion. We didn't even have to shift to my Blowout Philosophy of Calling Games. White blew it open in the second half, eventually winning by 35-ish, but the second half was so very smooth that we didn't ever shift philosophy. The game was fine without us.

I probably opened the game tooting the whistle a little too often--four quick fouls before my partner had one--but the game really eased up later. I almost didn't call a foul in the third quarter--partner had three--before calling a shooting foul with a few seconds left. We barely made the bonus in the first half and didn't come close to the bonus in the second. The fourth quarter featured a lot of turnovers and up and down--I ran more in this game than I have in a long time. The only call I really am thinking twice about wasn't a kick but a shooting foul I had as lead where I reached across the lane. Probably shouldn't have done that. At the very least, I should have let my partner have the call, but I was too excited to count the bucket and didn't notice my partner also had it until it was too late. Not a huge issue, but something to think about.

On the whole, it was a wonderful night. I invited my partner out for a drink afterwards--he earned it. He couldn't make it--has to work early tomorrow--but I think he was glad I asked.

THINGS I DID WELL: Just about everything. Felt in charge. Game had flow once we established things early. Put partner at ease.

THINGS TO WORK ON: Don't reach across lead. Be aware of partner having his fist up.

NEXT UP: Two junior high games on Tuesday.


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