Thursday, December 28, 2006

Game Log 12/28/06: This one was extremely intense.

Tonight, Inner City High School hosted Rural High School. The schools are 90 minutes apart, and have possibly never faced each other before.

I have two partners, Ellen and Ed. Ellen is a great partner--wonderful to go to war with. She has a reputation for taking positively no shit from anyone. Ed is also a good partner, and quick with a smile.

In pregame, Ellen says: "The coach for Inner City has a problem with woman referees. I don't want to take too much from him." Ed and I promise we've got her back.

Things get interesting in the first quarter. Rural High gets off to a 14-point lead...lots of threes. ICHS looks discombobulated. ICHS's coach is annoyed and annoying. In the second quarter, Ed warns him...and with good reason. He later related that the ICHS coach said this to him: "Come on! We're the home team!"

Wow. I'd like to dissect that, and to do that, I don't think I can avoid some socioeconomic and political realities.

ICHS was all African-American except for one White kid. RHS was all White except for one (possibly) African-American kid (and the coach might have been Latino...couldn't tell to look at him). My partners and me were all White.

I don't know what it's like to live or to grow up in the inner city, but I do believe that there's likely a lot of legitimate feeling that they haven't gotten a fair shake. I totally agree...they haven't. And when you feel like the powers that be have let you down, and in walk some striped shirts who are the powers that be in that immediate context, and they're White like the powers that be are, and you feel (as all fans do) like you're getting screwed...well, suddenly we've got a situation with unspoken but unquestionable racial and socioeconomic overtones.

When the ICHS coach says "Come on! We're the home team!", the subtext therein, I believe, indicates that he feels that the refs, who should be biased for their local team, are instead inherently biased towards their race.

I know that racism is alive and well in this country. I also know it's not happening in my officating or in that of any partner I've ever had, regardless of me. I don't want to pretend to be free of all racism--nobody is--but there's no bias in how I call a game.

Ed did well to shut him up right there. I just wish we had a venue to explain that WE DON'T GIVE A RAT'S ASS WHO WINS ANY GAME WE DO. PERIOD.

Anyway. Socioeconomic portion over now.

The game wasn't dirty, but we did call a fair amount of fouls, a couple of which were hard. I had interesting consecutive plays in the second quarter. RHS drove to the hoop, and was rejected with authority by ICHS. The crowd erupted...there's nothing like a really hard and clean blocked shot to get a crowd going. I had contact. Then, before the noise had died down, RHS stole and drove to the hoop again. Another hard block, but this one had a lot of body. I called it. While my back was to the hoop, the RHS player was down on the ground crying, and ICHS players high-fived each other. That's not cool in any gym. Ed walked up and said: "You probably don't want to do that. Maybe you should go see if she's okay." They did. Good move, Ed.

Had a weird call in the third quarter. I was C, standing right in ICHS' coach's hip pocket. His girls were throwing the ball around the perimeter when one pass was high, and on this very narrow court, the ball bounced right off of my shoetops before I could move. I tooted my whistle and said "I'm out of bounds," because I thought I was, and gave the ball to RHS. It's possible my shoes were an inch or two in-bounds...I don't ever look at my feet during a game! Even if they weren't, if I were a coach, I'd be more upset about the bad pass than the call that followed it. The coach said that "You're inbounds! You're inbounds!" I said "Nope!" and headed downcourt. Not sure how to avoid that one. A play like that might never happen again, which is fine by me.

The T was easy. After the warning, ICHS' coach was good for a while, but started chirping a bit in the third quarter. Except for the one play, his chirping was almost never at me...maybe he does have it in for female officials?...Nevertheless, I could tell the time had come for a T, and after Ellen made a call he didn't like downcourt, I turned around to find the coach angrily slapping the scorer's table (which is out of the coach's box, to boot). T. When Ed went to seat-belt him, the coach angrily asked Ed "What are you doing talking to me?" Just gotta tell you the rule, coach.

And then there was the crowd. I can't say I felt scared, but there was an intensity to this smallish but very loud and angry crowd that was right on top of us. Ellen actually talked the the crowd twice. I could have lived without that. I won't deal with a crowd unless they're either using profanity, racist or homophobic language, or somehow getting into my head. In spite of the intensity, that wasn't happening, although I did find myself hoping that we could get out of the gym without incident. Ellen obviously didn't think things were at an acceptable level with the crowd. After twice talking to the crowd (just saying "knock it off,") she stopped the game and got the ICHS assistant to go to the loudest parent and tell her to behave or go home. It worked, I guess...but it had the potential to go the other way, I think. I guess Ellen and I just have different styles.

The game? Fine. I can't think of a call I want back, or a particularly egregious no-call. It's possible that Ellen called it a little tighter than Ed and I did. She had the critical call in the fourth quarter. ICHS came back to tie the score, and there was a shot taken on my side as C with a few seconds left. I didn't have anything, but I was straightlined, and Ellen poached it. I trust her...I was looking at the shooter's back, and I'm sure she saw some contact that I didn't. The free throws gave ICHS the lead. RHS subsequently launched a three-pointer at the buzzer (I had last shot, and the ball was well out of her hands), which hit the backboard, rolled over all parts of the rim, and fell out.

I'm glad I had this game tonight. I think I proved I could handle a situation of extreme intensity. Still, I did find some moments in the third and fourth quarter, when it felt like things could really, really get ugly through no fault of our own, when I wasn't mentally together. Rather than focusing on making the right calls, I was thinking about the socioeconomic collision in this game (yes, I think about that sort of thing), about the impression I was giving off, about the impacts of my last couple of calls, then about NOT thinking about the impacts of my last couple of calls, then about what this blog entry might look like...Fortunately, my napping period didn't haunt me. Next time I'm in a pressure cooker like this one, I'll have been there before and will have less trouble.

THINGS I DID WELL: Call selection, good T, didn't miss a rotation all night
THINGS TO WORK ON: Stay in the game mentally at all times, posture
NEXT UP: Nothing until Tuesday, when I have a very-small school matchup.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Game Log 12/27/2006: Three good ones

Three little-kid games in succession today, with a rookie partner. I'm very happy with how everything went.

The first game featured a coach that I know to be chatty in an unsportsmanlike way. Last month, I learned that warning him works wonders. I didn't want to immediately warn him again,'d look like a vendetta. So I told my partner before the game that "One of these coaches might be a problem. I won't tell you which one." Of course, I didn't have to. The coach didn't say much if anything to me all game long, but apparently he was saving it for my partner. In the second quarter, my partner tooted his whistle and came over to me.

"That coach...he's distracting me from doing my job."

"Well then, go warn him." [I think he wanted me to.]

He did. At halftime, the assistant said he was confused as to what the warning was for. "Lip from the coach," I said, straight up. He didn't do much the rest of the game. Yay warning. I did talk to my partner about not stopping the clock to seek out the coach...he can warn him at a natural stoppage rather than creating one.

My partner was quite strong for a first-year guy, and he seemed to want to learn, so I spent a couple of time outs giving him little things to work on. I enjoy teaching people who want to learn.

I only had three calls I'd like back in the three games. There was a hard pick near the ball in the backcourt that I missed because I was so carefully counting out a ten-second count. That's not good. A kid wound up holding her chin for some reason in a weird gray area, and my partner and I missed it. That happens, but I'd like to catch that sucker next time. And I called a blocking foul on a player who had straight-up verticality. At the time, the foul count was way in the other team's favor, so that was in my mind, but even so, I just can't punish good D like that.

Three I'd like back in three games. I'll take that.

After the game, a kid (probably late HS or early college aged) came up to compliment me, saying he watched me work all three games and I was the best ref he'd ever seen at that level. I don't take that too seriously--if I did, I'd have to take spectator criticism seriously also--but it still felt nice. I took advantage of the situation and got the guy's email...recruitment, bay-bee. Let's stop the ref shortage! My technique? Be such a stud on the floor that people chase after me, then convince them to join me, where perhaps they might touch the hem of my garment...

THINGS I DID WELL: Handled rookie partner gently, call selection was solid
THINGS TO WORK ON: Verticality! Also, my own verticality...I still don't think my posture was good.

NEXT: Interesting varsity matchup tomorrow. A nonconference tilt: Rural Town HS travels to take on Inner City HS.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Good to see they're human...

I'm trying to watch a little more televised hoop this year to see what I can pick up from the officials. Hence, I looked at a little Ohio State/Florida action yesterday.

It made me feel pretty good to see a missed rotation result in two leads at one point in the second half.

They're human. Cool.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Game Log 12/22/2006: Back at it

Had my first game in 9 days today. I've been scheduled to do two games in the interim, but weather cancelled them both. So I felt a little bit of rust today. So it's fortunate that it was a smooth, calm game.

As much rust as I felt, one of my partners was doing her first game of the year...she had been out rehabbing a knee injury. In the first half, she really was slow to get in position...enough that I approached her at a time out and asked if she was all right. She said she was, but that she just needed time to warm up. She was a trooper...I think she was in more pain than she was letting on. So there were a few times when she was the new lead when I felt like I had to keep a close eye (as C, beating her down the floor) on things that might have been in her area, just in case she didn't have an angle.

The game itself was highly uneventful. Blue zipped out to a 12 point lead early, then kept it between 10 and 20 for the rest of the night. It wasn't a very high-scoring game--lots of full-court pressing, lots of milking the shot clock, not a lot of fouls. In fact, I didn't have a foul call until there was about a minute and a half left in the first quarter...but it was only the fourth foul of the whole game, so no big whoop.

The only complaint I heard all night was from the losing coach with 3:14 to go in the game. "They're slapping her! Slap, slappy, slap." I let it go. No need to go down that road that late. It worked...I didn't hear anything else.

I had last shot of the third quarter when the ball went out of bounds with a second on the clock (the scoreboard didn't show tenths). I chopped in the clock, and found that the player didn't release the ball on time. I waved it off (she missed anyway). As the players went to their benches, my partners came up and said "Did that buzzer go before she touched the ball?" Damn. It may well have, but I didn't notice. Next time I'll try to watch the clock, or assign a partner to be sure it starts right.

One other unusual thing tonight. Blue was driving when she took a weird dribble...she whiffed as the ball was coming up. She must have hit it hard, because it bounded past her, over the defender, and landed out of bounds. I was C--had a solid look at it. My partner as L signaled Blue ball. She was wrong. There wasn't a huge uproar, so I just stepped down towards the baseline to make eye contact. She called me over. All I said was "It's white ball." She overturned it based on that. I think I handled it right. If there'd been more yelling, I'd have gone sooner, but as it was, I just stepped down, made eye contact, and let her come to me if she wanted to.

A quiet night. I felt in control.

THINGS I DID WELL: Call selection, handled overrule well, rotations went well, I think
THINGS TO WORK ON: I still think my posture isn't good enough. Clock management on last shot.
NEXT UP: Three little-kid or junior high games on Wednesday, unless something pops up on Tuesday.

Monday, December 18, 2006

In non-officiating-related news...

Jack Bogdanski of Portland, Oregon is giving a dollar to charities for every unique hit his blog receives on Tuesday. Plus, if you leave the most clever holiday-related comment, you can choose the charity that receives some of his money.

So head on over to give a buck to charity. Then, leave a comment, and be clever, you know?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Game Log 12/13/2006: The season's first T

Weird night tonight, but I feel like it was a good one.

Today smelled like a blowout--distant last place against defending champion. I was surprised to say the least when White trailed only by a couple at half. They played their hearts was fun.

Then came the third quarter. Blue scored thirty points! They came out and hit a two, a two, and a three in the first minute of the half, and it was all but over right away.

There was about a minute left in the third--after all of this onslaught--when White's coach came suddenly and completely unglued. She hadn't been a problem all night--asked me politely for some three-second calls just before half, calls that, as I see it, just didn't exist.

I had a call on her girl out on the perimeter. She called it a "ticky-tack." It wasn't. It was a pretty solid push on the ballhandler--couldn't be ignored. When I went down to her end of the floor about a half a minute later, she was going nuts about the illegal screens. I wasn't seeing any illegal screens. I said: "I hear you!" The onslaught continued. I said "Coach, that's enough." She said "I wouldn't have to do this if you'd call the illegal screens!" I said "Coach, NO MORE!" and showed her my palm. She kept chirping. Didn't even slow down. I called the technical foul. She said "That's fine" and sat down. Okey-dokey.

The quarter ended about a minute later, and we met as a crew at halfcourt. Bob, one of my partners, said "It is my goal to get a Blue illegal screen before this game ends." We nodded in agreement. But Blue went to a spread offense and weren't setting screens for a long while. I did get one with about four minutes left...I was trail, and saw a borderline one in the paint. I could have passed on it, but I wanted to make sure Bob got his goal. We got a sarcastic cheer for it.

Things got ugly in the last three minutes, especially in the paint. I think things went south when there was an ugly foul on a Blue shooter that my partners missed. It was a layup across the paint from me (I was C). I likely shouldn't have been looking, but it was ugly. I waited for a partner's whistle that never came...not from the L, not from the T. I suppose I could have poached it--it was, after all, not merely a miss, but a "holy shit!"--but I didn't do it. Next time I'll call the bad one, even though we're so indocrinated not to poach. It led to some rough post play in the final three minutes. I probably was too verbal. I should have just tooted the whistle and let them know that the BS needed to stop that way. Next time.

I'm thinking heavily about the post-game. Bob, who felt he had failed to call an illegal screen that ultimately led to the T on White's coach, said: "Our big mistake was not calling illegal screens tonight. I take full responsibility for that." I responded by saying: "You don't have to take full responsibility. We were out there too." But neither I nor our other partner were seeing the illegal screens Bob was saying we missed. Bob said: "Well, you can't call what you can't see." I said: "True, but I can be concerned about not seeing them if they're happening. Where do you think they were happening?" He thought they were happening down low, near the baseline, on C's side. He felt that L didn't want to call that across the key. I feel like I would have if I'd seen it. Was I not watching that right?

I'd like a video to see if this was happening, but I feel like I was looking for them--especially after the T--and they just weren't there. It makes more sense to say that the coach's sudden craziness was more a response to a 31-point quarter by her opponent than to us. I can live with that.

THINGS I DID WELL: Good T call, rotations felt right.
THINGS TO WORK ON: No poaching, call the bad even if it is poaching, and maybe some missed screens

NEXT UP: State-ranked hosts an up-and-comer on Friday night, with two experienced partners. Here's my chance to show a couple in the know that I can handle a big game. This could be a tight, hot one--or a thirty pointer. Gotta be ready for each.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Here's how not to give an evaluation

It was the second time I had seen the JV official I was evaluating. He's relatively new, and workign on some of the basics. One of those basics is getting a fist or an open hand into the air on every whistle to stop the clock. He wasn't doing that in the first game, but was doing a far better job raising an arm in the second game. So, when he asked for input at halftime, here's what I said:

"You're doing a much better job of getting it up tonight."

Ewwww. I actually said that.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Game Log 12/8/2006: Not the game I thought it'd be

30-point blowout. I guess these early-season games sort out what the really good vs. the not-so-good games will be.

My performance: adequate. We managed the game, but I'll have to do better than this if I want to work up the list.

Things were motoring along fine through a quarter and a half (Blue was up 25-6 after about 6 minutes of play, and that was all she wrote). White's coach chirped at me a couple of times...there was a play where a bunch of players fell down, but I saw White collide with White and bring down a Blue. No call. I explained that. Indeed, in retrospect, I explained too much. He has a talent for asking things in a way that get answers, and next thing you know, he's creating regular dialogue. Not cool.

That's when my eyes wandered from my area. I was lead and a rebound went over to C's side, where C had an excellent look. I saw White and Blue come down with the ball together...but then their bodies blocked it. I called a jump ball. What the frick was I doing? Awful, awful call--the ball had squirted away and white had it. White coach said nothing. I blew it.

In the past, this would have taken me out of the game for a while. I'm making progress in that regard. If anything, it took me too much INTO the game. I called a bunch of fouls (good ones) over the next couple of minutes before realizing that I was dominating. I communicated to my partners that I needed to keep my whistle quiet for a while. I did. This is progress, but might be an overcompensation.

Third quarter went well too...a few minor bitches from the coach. Things started to get a little ugly on the court in the final two minutes...not there's-going-to-be-a-fight ugly, but they're-apathetic-and-sloppy ugly. As a crew, we probably let a little too much go. I had called three of the four fouls on White 15. I saw her swat an arm...let it go. Two minutes left. Could have had that, but it wasn't quite in my area. She's playing defense by getting up and bumping the opponent...she's the one creating the contact! I let that go a little, but it became clear in the final minute and a half that we needed to crack down a little. So I called one of those--fouled the kid out. I didn't want to do that--certainly not when I'd called four of the five fouls. White coach was really bummed...he felt like Blue had pushed off immediately before.

I don't think he did. Nor do I think there were hand checks, pushes, bumps, or any of the other things that he was asking for, both politely and occasionally impolitely.

I needed to warn him, and I didn't. He has a way of ending conversations before the warning comes and starting new ones. He needs at least a "you need to pick your spots." Next time I'll give it.

Partners were great and seemed okay with me, but I'm only slightly satisfied...not happy.

Damn you, perfectionism!

THINGS I DID WELL: I feel like positioning was good, and I'm getting more comfortable with three-person mechanics.

THINGS TO WORK ON: Coach management with this guy, and keep my goddamn eyes in my goddamn area as lead so I don't make another gawdawful call.

NEXT UP: Varsity game--probably a lopsided one--on Wednesday. But hey...I thought today's game would be hot. It wasn't.

Most important game

I know that the most important game of the night is always mine.

But I dare say that, if I were an impartial observer looking at the schedule, that I might select my game as the most important in the conference tonight...and one of the most important in town.

Bring it on, baby.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Game Log 12/6/06: Almost a good one...

Tonight's game featured a state-ranked team against an up-and-comer. The up-and-comer led in the third quarter for a while, but the state-ranked team put them away late (but they don't look good enough to be state ranked, IMHO). My partners were one college-level official who I respect and a guy at about my level on the list or a little below.

I'd say my performance was good but not great. We were evaluated, and he was complimentary, but I need to refocus on refereeing the defense.

When I'm lead, I'd say I do a pretty good job of reffing the defense. But I had a player control foul I want back. It was on a fast break, and I was C. The ballhandler drove from my side. While I thought I had the defense, and was confident she was there first, the coach and most of the crowd disagreed. More importantly, when I asked them after the game, my partners disagreed. The college guy said that I was refereeing the offense because I was hugging the line. Next time I go down the floor and there's a break, I'm going to get the hell away from the sideline. From out on the floor, I'll be able to see the daylight between the players, and from that way, I won't have any choice but to watch the defense.

I feel like I watch the D as lead well, and when the ball is on the perimeter. But I have to do it all the time, and I think that making myself move to get angles will make that easier.

There was another weird call. A Green player launched a three pointer right before the shot clock went off. The ball hit the rim. On the rebound, my partner called an incorrect shot clock violation. I should have run over to him, but I decided to let it go because White was getting the ball anyway (they had the rebound, so if partner had called nothing or correctly called an inadvertent whistle, we'd have had the same result). I didn't want it to look like I was showing him up...but I should have headed in. I had the shot, and instead of looking like I was showing him up, we looked like we didn't know the shot clock rule, which is worse.

So, going into a huge, intense, high-pressure game on Friday, I'd say I'm ready...but I want to be great that night, not just good.

THINGS I DID WELL: Call selection, clock knowledge (we had a TERRIBLE table, and I caught many mistakes).

THINGS TO WORK ON: Focus on D on drives, don't slouch, crisp up mechanics. Should run a little more...I don't -need- to, but it'll look better.

NEXT UP: Big game on Friday. Stoked. (But first I have the freshman game.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Game Log 12/5/2006: Junior high

Worked a pair of junior high games today with a partner I had not ever worked with previously. The games went smoothly.

The "Varsity" (9th graders, more or less) game went without a hitch. Red was close for the first half, but Grey blew it open in the first quarter. That's right..."Grey." I kept calling them was really hard to call them "grey." I'll be glad when next year arrives and all home teams are required to wear white. There were really only two situations I remember, both involving whiny players. Red had a player on the bench who barked about a couple of calls a little two loudly. A quick informing of the coach: "Coach, I'm hearing a lot from your bench. Can you control that?" Her response was actually to thank me! I love it when I have a class act on the bench. Then, I had a Red kid say "Shit!" when she dribbled the ball off of her foot and out of bounds. We were far away from anyone else, so I let it go...I don't think anyone but me heard. I was going to chat with her about it, but she was substituted for before I could. Finally, a White player whined on consecutive trips down the floor. She got the full teacher-glare and lecture. "Five, you've complained twice in a row. That's going to stop immediately. Is that clear?" It worked. Her posture straightened up discernibly, and she said "Yes." No more trouble.

The second game came down to the wire. It featured an unprecedented play for me: Red scoring points for White. Plain and simple...inbounded the ball under their own basket after a jump ball as everyone ran down the floor, but the kid took a shot. Swish! I handled it just fine...said "Red ball!" so they could get right back into it.

The junior high "JV" weren't talented, but they were well-coached, and the game motored along. I felt like White was the better team, but in the second half, Red continued to hit some shops, and next thing we knew, it was tight and late. I started getting into it...selling a few calls, getting together with my partner at any times was cool! From about 1:30 left until about :30 left, Red held onto the ball. Blocked shot...out of bounds. White foul. Knocked out of bounds. Jump ball...Red has the arrow. Then there were a couple of changes of possession, and eventually White had the ball with eight seconds left. They took it down the court, and Blue reached in enough to disrupt the dribbler...lost the ball. I called the foul with two and a half seconds left. It was only Red's fourth team foul! White inbounded the ball and got an open three. No good. Game over. Loads of fun. And the wrong-way basket didn't cost Red the game.

THINGS I DID WELL: Game management, took no crap, handled bizarre wrong-team
bucket without a hitch.

THINGS TO WORK ON: I had a walk call I didn't like late. She whiffed on a dribble, the ball wound up over her head, she ran a few paces, and caught the ball. It looked ugly, and right after I blew my whistle...well, I realized it was a no-call.

NEXT UP: Could be a good varsity game tomorrow night. Stoked.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What the HELL is the NFL thinking?

Those ref pants on display in Denver tonight (as well as in Buffalo today, although I missed that) are abominable. Breathtakingly bad.

First of all, the black on the pants is darker than the black on the windbreakers. Ever wear a black shirt fairly often, and wash it every now and then, and then you can't wear it with tux pants anymore? Well, I do. And that's what it looked like.

But that white stripe down the side? Holy Lord God. It looked like a velour 1970s era jogging suit. Was Jim Fixx due to show up?

Not only are those pants going to look bad in 20 years on ESPN Classic, they look bad NOW.

I'm no fashion plate, but I hope that somebody in the NFL looks at the film and clues into at least trace elements of fashion sense. I mean, if I know it's bad, why don't they? But barring that, perhaps the wives and girlfriends of the officiating crews could call New York and talk about how much they were forced to laugh at those damn pants. Maybe that'd fix things up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Game Log 12/1/2006: Season debut

The game itself wasn't great tonight...two pretty unskilled teams...but it turned out fine. It took forever, but it turned out fine.

We had five fouls...three on Green, two on white...within a minute and twenty seconds of the game. Ugh. But we got the handchecks, which helped. And since this was the season debut for both teams, it's probably for the better.

The game was an 11-point game at halftime, and about 15 at the end of the third quarter. I didn't hear boo from either coach in spite of the fact that there were so many fouls (and they were a little unbalanced...more on the leading team). Two polite questions from the winning coach, one on the losing coach. One time, Green received an in-bound pass while totally leaping into and creaming a White player. I called it. The coach started to ask me a question, but then said "Ah, never mind. You had a better angle." I actually giggled as I walked was so danged unexpected.

It says right there in the rulebook that "incidental contact may be severe." That happened on a killer pick today. Green was standing stock still in the backcourt when her teammate blitzed by with the ball. The defender had no idea...absolutely none...that the pick was coming. The pick did not push with body or arms. She simply was a wall, and the defender bonked off of her big time, and was injured. It's awful that the kid was hurt, but that's a no-call all the way. In fact, since the hurt player was going so fast that she actually displaced the screener, it could have been called on her. How popular would that have been? No-call all the way.

Here's the big call of the day. End of the third quarter. I'm trail, and I have the last shot. The buzzer sounds. I wave it off..."No shot! No!" My partner at Lead has a foul, however. We come together. The determination is that it went foul-buzzer-release.

I think that we're shooting one-and-one. There's no shot, right? So how can it be in the act of shooting?

Partner thinks we're shooting two. His argument: even though the shot didn't go off, the foul was still in the act of shooting while the ball was live.

I deferred to my partner...when in conflict, I'll do the less-weird and more-explainable thing...but after the game, we argued.

We bet a Twix bar on it.

And the winner is: my partner.

He prefers caramel.

THINGS I DID WELL: No fatigue! Felt in charge, handled weird situation well by coming together with partner (even though I turned out to be wrong). Consistent (both myself and as a crew) on travels and carries. And there were a LOT.

THINGS TO WORK ON: Rotate more often as lead. Focus more doggedly on defense.

NEXT UP: Junior high games on Tuesday, then damn good games on Wednesday and Friday. I'm stoked that these games are appearing on my schedule this year! Breakthrough time!

Schedule is building up...

After some weather cancellations this week, I've got an interesting batch of games set up for the first half of this year. The combination of my rising on the list and a bit of an officials' shortage has given me games I would not formerly have had. Nobody's played yet, so it's tough to tell who's good and who isn't, but I have some traditional powers squaring off against each other next week, and I'm excited. Time to step up to the challenge after a year of almost exclusively blowout games.

Tonight won't be a blowout...tonight is two teams at the bottom of the schedule. We're talking two teams that have been winless in at least one recent season. This could be intense because each team might be able to smell a victory. I'll let you know how it goes.

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