Saturday, October 21, 2006

Game Log 10/20/2006: Well, this one is behind me.

Funny--when I really think about the first of my two games today, I can recall only two errors. But they were bad--and the net result was my worst game in years.

The head coach for Blue didn't help. I could actually hear her coaching her team to foul the other team. "Bump her! Let her know you're there!" What the hell? 32 was giving forearm shivers to the big kid for white all the time. I called a couple. They put somebody else on her. Then came the double fouls.

That's right...I had two double fouls. I normally don't call more than one in a season; but I had two in a half this time. I usually find it's an effective means to stop ugliness. The first, I had white reaching around to grab Blue, and Blue pushed her in the back. Double foul. I explained it quickly and went away. The Blue player pronounced my call "bullshit." Partner had my back; technical foul. I stand by call. Partner said: "I trust you."

About five minutes later, White came down to post up, and Blue was waiting with their customary forearm shove. White came down with her forearms up to. They collided like a pulling guard and a linebacker. Double foul. Can't have that shit. I stand by that.

The net result is that we were sort of unpopular at this point. The double foul is never popular, but it's what I had in each of these cases. Blue had only 2 players on its bench; White had zero. I'm hoping that these calls will ease things up. They don't really.

Then, my first big mistake, which, upon analysis, was actually a combination of three mistakes.

Eleven seconds left in the half. We run down the floor. There are a couple of passes. White scores. I'm waiting for the buzzer. We run back down to Blue's end of the floor. I have a blocking foul on White. We look up. There are three seconds on the clock, and White says the clock started late. I am to check it out.

At this point, I've already committed Error Number One. Neither my partner nor I have looked at the clock to see that it started. Yeah, I know this was a weekend league with a clock on the sideline, which is hard to see...but still, we've got to do that.

Next, I commit Error Number Two. I didn't get together with my partner. She might have had some information, and it would have slowed me down. I needed to be slowed down to figure out all that was going on.

I go to the table. I say: "What happened?" She says: "I didn't start the clock on time." I say: "Was it more than three seconds?" This is a minor, unnumbered error...the question was leading. I would have done better to say "How late were you?"

She said it was more than three seconds. So this leads me to wipe off the foul. I never, ever should have done that. Dammit. Error Number Three.

I've checked the rule book, and it says what I thought it said: I need to have definite knowledge to make a fix. Neither my partner or I did. Does the timer's knowledge count as definite? Upon reflection, I'd say not. I think the correct thing to do was to keep three seconds on the clock. Second choice was to fix the time, but to let Blue shoot their one-and-one. But I wiped off the foul.

I talked with a veteran official and told him our situation...a "what would you do?" situation...and he said "Gee, that's a tough one." But as I see it in the rule book and case book, I blew it. Better in fall league, I guess, but I'm still angry that I made the wrong call and managed to leave my partner out in the cold as I did so.

I compounded this in the second half with a bad block call.

It was a bizarre play. Blue is back on defense. She's set. White goes up and grazes her thigh a little. I have a no-call at that point. But because she grazed her thigh, White loses her balance and we have an ugly three-car pileup featuring an injury. I've got to toot my whistle. And I call...a block??? Huh?

I feel like I've been indoctrinated to the point of view that a Player Control foul needs to have fairly good contact on the torso. That didn't quite happen was just a weird pileup. But Blue didn't do anything wrong. Yet, when I went to call the foul, I saw it as White being tripped and decided in my head that she must have been set too wide. God damn it, I've made this mistake before, so it's inexcusable now. That's a PC foul. Sure, the original contact was light and not worthy of a call, but the subsequent contact counts too.

An idiot mother for Blue screamed. Loud. For a while. And this is where things got interesting. As I was turning to the gym manager to ask her for some help, number 32 for White turned to her and spoke at some length. It felt like 15 seconds...not just one second, but a paragraph's worth. Calmly. And when she finished, the majority of the crowd cheered. From there, I didn't hear from any parent again. Thank you, White 32.

The rest of the game was a little smoother. Thankfully, both teams switched to a zone, and it cleaned up. And the second game was not a big problem. I'm glad, because the two big mistakes took me out.

That might be what I take from today. I need to have a much shorter memory. I don't think I did poor work other than the two calls, but it took effort to get focused after the two oh-shit messups.

I'm glad I'm back out there next week. I need to put this one behind me.

THINGS I DID WELL: I'm not in the mood to fill this out.

THINGS TO WORK ON: SLOW THE HELL DOWN when faced with a bizarre situation. Bring my partner in. Watch the clock. Call no "legs too far apart" blocking fouls again unless the player is nearly doing the splits.

Sure, I'm a little rusty, but this performance wasn't good enough. I need to do far better.


At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Massref said...

Not much to say about this one. You've already diagnosed the problem and the solution. SLOW DOWN. Nothing's going to happen until you're ready. So take your time and get it right.

And yeah, you should take a peek at the clock, but it's tough to do with only one clock -- on the sideline, no less. A better fix might be to count the last 10 seconds to yourself in each period. Sounds like you probably had a backcourt count; just continue counting until you get to 11. I don't do this consistently enough, but I've been told that it's very effective. You'll always have a count for definite knowledge.

As far as the double fouls and the roughness of the game, I have said flat out to the players, "We're not going to stop calling fouls. So clean it up, or you won't be around long." That was in a HS game. But especially in a rec league, just tell them to knock it off -- or else.

At 6:05 PM, Blogger Blogging Ref said...

Thanks, Mass--

What pisses me off is that I knew the right call. If you'd quizzed me on the call, I would have gotten it right. But on the floor, I didn't. That's why, even though this was a 20-point game in a rec league, the hangover on this one is harsher and longer...I'm having trouble shaking it off. I should have known better, but in the moment, I blew it. I need to get back out on the floor to get my confidence back.

I'm looking forward to the next weird situation. Anything bizarre, period, I'm calling at least one partner over and slowing the hell down.

Diagnosing the problem is valuable, but I'd rather have avoided the damn thing to begin with.

It's hard to be a ref and a perfectionist...

At 9:47 AM, Blogger tommyspoon said...

It's hard to be a ref and a perfectionist...

Impossible, I would say. ;-)

Quit beating yourself up, BR. If more refs engaged in self-analysis, sports would be changed much for the better.

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Massref said...

BR, I don't see an email address for you, but I wanted you to see this. Thought you might find it interesting!

At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Massref said...

Well, that didn't work!! Here's the full link.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Sounds to me like "things to work on" should include "don't let mistakes stick with you and cause more mistakes." (One of my personal demons as well.)

I don't know how to work on that. It's not like you want to practice making bad calls so you can work on recovering from them. What's something fast paced that you're really bad at? :-)

Going back and filling out the "things I did well" isn't quite the same, but maybe it's a symbolic step...


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