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.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Add Me! - Search Engine Optimization