Monday, December 03, 2007

Here goes...

This new association has me a little bit confused. Rather than telling me about rules tests, background checks, etc., I am asking them. That's a little bit confusing and frustrating. I have no idea who my partners are tomorrow, what I'll be wearing, where to get an association jacket, or how, when, where, or from whom to get paid.

But, come hell or high water, I now have a season afoot. I've got games set aside for most of the next month. Tomorrow's are my only varsity games currently scheduled; thereafter I will have a month of mostly boys' games, almost all freshman and JV. While I'll miss my varsity diet, I won't complain. They don't know me from Adam here, so they need to figure out what I can do. Additionally, with no real boys' experience, it can't hurt to have some lower level boys' games to get my eyes and brain to the next level of speed. So I'll get at it and have as much fun as I can.

I'm a little bit more nervous than I have been for past seasons, for two reasons. First, this has the feel of a first date. Will they like me? How should I act? The answer is the same as it was for first dates...just be myself, right?

Second, because real life has intervened so greatly this summer, I have barely thought about basketball since my last game in February. I'm not sure I've run more than a few steps since then. I'm sure I've let myself slide out of shape, even though my weight is about the same as it was last February.

But you go to war with the body you have, not the body you wish you had.

Tonight, I went to a JV and Varsity girls' ballgame to see some players I know, but also to get a sense as to the association here. Much to my surprise, there was a 3-man JV crew! They worked simultaneously with a 2-man C-game crew. I'm like: "Wow! What a great opportunity for the younger officials to learn 3-man mechanics!" Then the same 3 refs came out for the Varsity game. Oh much for my dream. I can't stand doing JV/Varsity double-headers, but it'll be better down here than it used to be in the big city, where I'd often have a 2-man JV game followed by a Varsity game. Less running here.

I will now refresh my memory as to what I told myself I'd work on this year:
1. SLOW THE HELL DOWN. All of the worst errors I made this year have going too fast as a common denominator. Additionally, as I said before, this negatively impacts my mechanics as well. Next year, in weird situations, I will breathe once before making a big decision. Literally, physically, deeply breathe while in the conference. It's a trick I learned as a singer...when you're nervous, breathe. Don't remember to breathe, don't focus on breathing...actually breathe. And when I stick my fist up, I will breathe once before delivering the call at the spot.

2. FIND A DEFENDER. ALWAYS. I got better at looking at the defense this year, but was still surprised by a defender or two. In the last month or so, I improved, mostly because I started to look not only at the ballhandler, but where the ballhandler is going so I could pick up a defender. The thing is though, paradoxically, the more I improved at refereeing the defense, the more I realized what a long way I had to go in refereeing the defense. I suspect this will be a career-long of those tough tasks that I always get better at, but never 100% get well. Still, it's on the list.

3. MORE PARTNER AWARENESS. Slowing down will help this too, but I'd like to bring my partners a little more into my know what they're looking at as well as what I'm looking at. There were bumpy T/C ball tradeoffs this year, and a couple of times I missed a double whistle (some near-miss blarges). I will be a better partner, not just at dead balls, but on live balls too.

4. NO MORE ZONING OUT. Late in games, I find I have gotten tunnel-vision. This is a little related to #3, but I need to find a way to be less zombie-like late in games. Is it fatigue causing this? Whatever it is, I need to beat it.

Okay...fair enough. I'll review this list tomorrow, see if my pants and shoes are still in good repair, throw a shirt of each color in the bag (and no jacket), and head on off for a pair of games tomorrow, including my first boys' varsity game (albeit for schools of about 150 total students each).


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