Saturday, November 25, 2006

Game Log 11/25/06: The wonders of the warning

Two games today with a partner I really enjoy working with. He was doing 7 games that day, because he's young and borderline insane. Just two for me. Both were blowout 9th-grade games.

The first game was interesting insofar as the refs and players agreed to modify a tournament rule. White took a quick 20-point lead on Red, and the tournament rule was that White had to take off the press. But Red's coach wanted White to continue pressing--he wanted them to work on getting the ball up the court. So we set aside the rule. It didn't much matter...Red figured out the press and wound up losing by 9. They weren't down for long. I guess there was no harm in what we did.

The second game...well, my partner gave me a head's up before we got going. "Watch out. Loud coaches." I didn't even know what team he was referring to, but it took about two minutes of play to figure out it was the White coach. "Call the block," he said. There was something about his tone I didn't like. I responded: "Not that one, coach. Not much contact there." He then said: "And that wasn't a travel, either." He referred to a call two trips down the floor earlier. Again, his tone was pretty damn mean, and that, combined with partner's warning, convinced me it was time to nip this sucker in the bud. I showed him my palm. "Coach, I'm already done with you," is what I said. A

It worked. He channeled his buttheadism into a more socially respectable way. He didn't like a call I had on his big girl on a rebound. She gave the kid in front of her a two-handed push in the back--bent the kid over at the waist. Too obvious to miss. As I ran up the court, the coach had his hands out and palms up--the sign for "What?" I said: "Do you have a question?" He said "What was the call?" I told him. The girl, of course, denied it when he pulled her (I think it was her third foul). He then took her out to me at halftime and said: "I want you to tell her what the call was. She says she had her hands out." I said what it was again. It's clear he didn't want to do this for the benefit of his player--it was his way of registering disagreement. But I can live with it that way.

Perhaps I could have waited a little to warn the guy, but I think my decision turned out to be the best for the game. Easily. My partner said the assistant coach on that team was a complete turd after a recent championship game, saying this to him: "That kid took 11 seconds to shoot her free throw. You blew that call, and you KNOW it!" Whatever. Get a life. Glad I shut that bench down, and if I see them again, I'll give it a fresh start. Perhaps he'll remember to approach me differently, but I doubt it.

THINGS I DID WELL: Coach management
THINGS TO WORK ON: My call selection may have been a hair inconsistent...let a few things go and called a few that I could have let go. I could be a little more consistent.
NEXT UP: Nothing's actually on the schedule right now, but I'll likely have something pop up on Tuesday, and defnitely on Friday.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Game Log 11-24-06: Two blowouts and an overtime

The season kicked off for me in earnest today with three games at a huge rec league tournament. I had an eighth-grade game followed by two sixth-grade games. Two-person mechanics with an athletic college kid who's been doing this for a few years.

The first two games were fairly uneventful. Each was a 30-point blowout. I worked hard on watching off-ball defense as lead, saying the numbers of defensive post players to myself. Heard nothing from coaches or fans the first game, and very little in the second game. The losing coach in the second game didn't like my first call...a push in the back on an inbounds by the receiving player for the offense before she caught the ball. The call was damn good. There were so many turnovers, however, that I was totally winded in the middle of the second game. One of the summers, I swear I'm going to stay in shape...

The third game was extremely close. I don't remember any team being up by more than three. I heard nothing from either coach. But in the second half, as things became more intense, I had to deal with an enraged parent.

At least three times down the floor, she was audibly barking at me or at my partner. This was a three-gyms-in-one-room situation where the spectators have their toes in-bounds, so her persistent barking was a problem. The third time I got trouble from her, I decided to stop it. I seldom talk to fans, but with game management God-knows-where, I dealt with it.

Ma'am, you need to behave yourself.
[I don't remember what she said here. It was some complaint. I don't even remember if it was specific to a recent call or general bitching.]
Ma'am, I'm going to send you home if you continue the yelling.
"I'm a ref!"

Whoa. She acted like the fact that she's a ref gave her carte blanche to bitch at my partner and me. In reality, of course, it makes her behavior even worse because she should know better.

I kept my cool.

You are not acting in a manner you can be proud of, ma'am. Behave.
"You shouldn't even hear me!"

We agree on that much. I shouldn't hear her...because she shouldn't be yelling. Especially as a ref. Especially at a sixth-grade rec game.

There were about 5 minutes left in the game when we had that exchange. The game stayed mega-close. With a minute and a half left, my partner said "The fans in that corner (far away from the bitching I stopped) are getting mean." I said that, with a minute and a half left, we should ride it out. That's not the point when we should toss someone.

Then, 10 seconds left...tie score. I'm trail, and there's a steal and a breakaway. I'm lead. A defender drops back. I'm thinking to myself...with a tie score and less than ten seconds left in regulation, I won't call a cheap one. There was a little contact, but nothing that, in my view, impacted the shot at all. I took a pass. The kid missed. We went to overtime. I heard absolutely nothing from either coach, but the fans were pissed. Fortunately, I was far away enough that my ignoring them was legit.

The butthead parents' team won in overtime.

As I picked up my payment, I encountered an old-timer in our association. I pointed out the parent who self-identified her as a ref. I asked who that was. He said her name. I asked if she was a problem. He said: "Her? She used to be president of our association."


She might well be a ref, but tonight, she was just another butthead enraged parent. And tonight, I stand by every decision I made. Kept cool and handled the tough overtime game well.

THINGS I DID WELL: Stress handled well. Decisions in close game. Handled blowouts well.
THINGS TO WORK ON: Called one or two out of my area as trail. Need to focus on my area better all the time.
NEXT UP: Two ninth-grade games at the same tournament tomorrow. I make my HS debut on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A change this season...

For the first time, I'm likely to have a few boys' games this year.

I originally started officiating girls' ball because there were fewer officials on that side. That meant more games and more money at a time when I needed money. I then had my friends on the girls' side, enjoyed the relative lack of testosterone, and frankly, became accustomed to the girls' game. I simply never had an occasion to switch.

But this year, there's an opportunity to do a few boys' games.

This will be an experience.

Adjustments, as I see them:

The speed of the game will take some time and adaption. My eyes will need to adjust.

I predict the coaches will be more overtly aggressive...more testosterone on display. I'll have to learn the language. Players too.

I have never had to call, nor even to think about, goaltending or basket interference. I talked to a fellow official, and he said "No matter how you study, the first time you see it, you'll simply have your mouth hanging open."

I'll keep you posted. My schedule will mostly still be girls' ball, but I'll do maybe 6-10 boys' games. I'll let you know.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rules Test '06: The Ones I Missed

I just completed my rules test. I do it two ways...first, unfettered by the rulebook, doing it off of my head. I got an 88 that way. That's down from an 89 last year. Then, I look at the rulebook closely. I got a 95 that way.

Here are the twelve questions I missed off the top of my head. If you can get them right, cool! Many of them were simply that I misread the question. A couple were bizarre or arcane...that's not an excuse, it's just an explanation. And one or two I still don't get.

It is a violation on dribbler A1 when a five-second, closely-guarded count is reached in A's backcourt.

Only one visible manufacturer's logo/trademark/reference or a school logo/mascot is permitted on the pants, compression shorts and sweatbands/headbands.

A state may adopt procedures for a running clock when a specified point differential is reached.

If the clock is stopped and the thrower holds the ball through the throw-in boundary plane and it is then touched by a player on the court, the clock shall start.

If only a 30-second time-out remains, it will be charged if the coach's request for conference results in no prevention or correction of an alternating-possession mistake.

A player who has been withdrawn may not re-enter before the next opportunity to substitute after the ball becomes live following his/her replacement.

A substitute who legally enters the game during a dead-ball period maynot be withdrawn during that same dead-ball period.

The timer shall sound a warning horn at 20 seconds of the 30 second interval for replacing a disqualified player if the required substitute has not reported.

The scorers shall be responsible for the possession arrow.

No free throws are awarded when opponents commit simultaneous personal fouls.

An official shall notify the coach, request the timer to begin the replacement interval, and then notify the player of his/her disqualification.

A team-control foul can also be intentional or flagrant.

To establish the alternating-possession procedure, control may be gained as a result of a violation or foul.

Extreme ref love on ABC!

Let's give a quick hats-off to ABC's Bob Davie for showing some love--actually, some effusive love--to an official during today's big Michigan/Ohio State matchup:

"That's great technique right there, and I'll tell you what: to make that call, and to be focused as that official right there and to have his eyes down...that was a great job! Great mechanics!"

Best of all, Brent Musberger then dug out the name of the side judge on the big call: John Lucivansky.

Soak it in, Mr.'re enjoying unprecedented ref love. I add to it here, but throw a little back to Bob Davie. Thanks for noticing, Bob.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I need to watch more sports on TV.

So I've started TiVo-ing one basketball game per week, which I watch exclusively for the refereeing. Just watched last week's Suns/Spurs game, and all I watched it for was rotations. When did they move? (Often.) How did they move? (Two guys jogged, one guy sashayed. Okay, you caught me. I can't spell sacheyed. Anyway, it looked bad. I'll jog or walk briskly.)

Next up: a college game I'm taping right now. As soon as I get a chance. And I do think that doing this consistently will make me a better ref.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tryin' to get back into shape...

There's about 11 days before my first game of the real season. That's plenty of time!

At the school where I teach, I've decided to show up (with permission, of course) at some boys' and girls' practices. The coach says I can run with the team during scrimmages. I won't call fouls, but I'll watch closely and get my eyes and body back into full high-school shape.

Today was the first day of practice, so there wasn't any scrimmaging. So I headed to a nearby stairway and ran up and down the stairs--30 of them--55 times over about an hour and a half. I'd do ten, then rest and stretch, then do ten, then rest and stretch again. It's possible this isn't the best way to get into shape, but hey, I figure if I do that every day for the next ten, it's a good bet I won't be sucking wind come next weekend.

CFL player fined for calling officials racist.

It's Isaac Bruce's cousin. He said "I think they are racists" and "They're racists." He then later said "I didn't say refrees are racist or the league is racist. I just said it's a question."

Throw this one in the "players should be seen and not heard" pile.

Here's the link.

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