Friday, January 05, 2007

Game Log 1/5/2007: Man, do I ever feel good.

It was one of those nights where everything just went wonderfully. I feel like The Man.

First, I had a freshman game. Utterly uneventful. One team was up by a score of 29-4 at halftime. Ick. Both teams were fairly timid, and the coach of the losing team was an absolute saint. Whatever they're paying him, he deserves more for his infinite patience, calm demeanor, encouragement, and emphasis on teaching. The second half was especially slow--almost no contact, and believe it or not, the game actually developed a flow when the losing team hit a few shots. It was like stealing money.

Then the varsity game. What a pleasure. The game went smoothly. My partners and I called it right. It simply felt better for me than any game I've had in a long time. I can think of two situations where there might have been travels that I each case, there was a defender coming up and I focused on the defense like I was supposed to, and may have missed a foot shuffle. I was T both times (or was I C?), so perhaps I'm a little too close to the play. Two steps back and I can watch both feet AND upper body. And late in the game...a 15-point lead or so...we got together and said we were doing a good job of letting them play (which wasn't a problem, since the game was mostly clean) and would continue to do so. I followed with the only call I want back on the whole night: a ticky-tack against the losing team on the perimeter. There was contact (wrist on wrist) as the player started to dribble, but it didn't at all impede the dribbler or affect the game. And I'd just agreed that we were doing so well letting them play!

I even started the game with an off-ball push call on the big girls crashing in the high post! Dare I think that helped clean things up? I've been taught that the best call a game can have in an 0ff-ball call in the first two minutes. It took me twenty seconds...but it was a good one.

Anyhoo. My vow of a couple of days ago regarding the chatty coach turned out to be utterly unnecessary. He literally said one sentence to me all night! It was in the fourth quarter. His player on a fast break had just lost the ball out of bounds. I signalled it was the other team's ball. As I passed him headed up court, we had the following exchange:

HIM: "Did you see the grab from behind?"
ME: "No."

Works for me. Great night. He did chat more with one of my partners. It could be a total coincidence, or it could be that he's decided that yakking at me is a waste of energy, either because I suck or because I'm unimpacted by "working the official." I'll vote for the latter, but hey, it works either way.

I also handled a strange situation with my partners. I had heard that these two had a run-in on the floor the last time they were together. I have no idea what the reality of what happened is, but when partner A was telling me how mad he was when partner B sold him/her out, I made a decision: I would be the crew chief that night! That way, in the event that there was trouble, I would get to make that decision.

Speaking of a strange situation, White inbounded the ball with .5 left in the first quarter. The kid caught it and shot it...I think before the buzzer. (I was T away from the table, so it was my call). My L waved it off while I was signalling it would count. (Thankfully, the shot missed.) I was annoyed--maybe even pissed--about that, but didn't show it. I just said: "Hey...that would have been bad if it had gone in." His response: "No. With half a second or less on the clock, it has to be a tip." I said "'s .3 seconds." The other partner broke the tie...against me. These two formerly warring partners now united against me! I dropped it and hoped it didn't come up again. It didn't. I have now checked the rulebook...I was right. And she caught it and shot it before the buzzer. If that ball had gone in, as crew chief, I would have been stuck with a damn tough situation with both partners disagreeing with me. Looks like I'll be sending them an email...

THINGS I DID WELL: Call selection, was a good partner, just plain felt great about my call selection
THINGS TO WORK ON: Slow down my preliminary signals, be more vigilant about travels
NEXT UP: Two junior high games and a tiny-school varsity game on Tuesday. A damn big varsity game on Wednesday...maybe the game of the night. I need to get myself videotaped to see how I look under pressure.


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