Thursday, January 31, 2008

Game Log 1/31/2008: Good one

I don't know why I got the same team for a third time in a row, but at least it's a team with a classy coach and good kids who follow his lead.

Game was smooth. Very, very little to report. I had to give two administrative T's to open the second half because the classy coach admitted to having given the wrong set of jersey numbers to the table. I wasn't positive whether it was one T or several...I went with several (there were only two incorrect numbers). To be honest, I probably never would have known if I hadn't been notified by the coach... the table wasn't telling me. Anyway, I'll check to see if this was wrong.

One controversial call late. I had White out of bounds directly in front of White's bench. I saw him slide his foot over, touch the line, and bring it back quickly. Blue ball! White went pretty nuts about it, but it was over soon. The fact that it was a 20-point game didn't help.

We missed a travel right before halftime, but beyond that, I don't think I want a call back tonight. That's a good feeling.

GOOD: Game management, call selection, handled weird situation correctly
WORK ON: Travels
NEXT: Another varsity girls game, added at the last minute. Yay me. That'll be Saturday night.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Game Log 1/29/2008: Just a bit off

Very little to discuss in today's freshman boys' game. I didn't quite feel with it (I've been short sleep lately), but had a strong, varsity fill-in partner, and my knee barked for a while. But those are excuses. Nothing went wrong, really. There was one late call where I totally helped out my partner. It was C's call...but, unfortunately, we were playing a two-man game.

Here's what happened:

Late in a close game, the team trailing by two got a rebound. I was new lead, and I hauled my butt down the floor, keeping my eyes on the last couple of defenders over my shoulder. As soon as I got there, the ballhandler crashed into a third defender in the middle of a batch bodies right about the free throw line. It was quite a collision. I gave a half a beat for my partner to make the call, since he had the ballhandler. Nothing. The collision was too big to ignore, so I tooted my whistle. I picked up the defender late (remember...this was SO C's call!), so I called it a player control foul, simply because it was a solid shot to the torso. Later, I asked my partner if it was the right call.

"Thank you for that! I was way in the backcourt, and the collision was in a pile. For me, it would have been a stone-cold guess. I'm SO glad you had something!"

Ah, bailing out a varsity partner. Nice feeling.

GOOD: Game was smooth, kept a good eye on things, game under control
WORK ON: Mental with-it-ness (maybe just get some sleep)
NEXT: Right now, it's a Saturday freshman boys' game, but I'm seeing if I can get something on Thursday.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Game Log 1/25/2008: I'd like to hear from a coach regarding something I've seen a lot of lately

Freshman boys rivals tonight. Green was better than White throughout, and while White made it close late in the first half, Green pretty well put it away in the third quarter and made it a laugher in the fourth.

We called loads of fouls in the first quarter...teams came out physical and sloppy, although not dirty. Team fouls were 6-6 after one, but the teams settled down in the second quarter. Second half? Not so much.

Green's coach really didn't care for a walk I had in the third quarter. It was in that awful two-man no-man's land, well beyond the three-point line and out near the sideline opposite me as trail (away from the bench, thankfully). A ball was tipped loose, and a player grabbed it. I saw one-two-three steps just a shade before the ball was knocked away from that player's grasp. I called a walk. Player and especially coach were beside themselves thinking I'd missed it. In a three-man game, someone is right there on the call. Not here, alas. But I really think he walked before losing the ball.

Green's coach did the Play-By-Play from hell for a while after that, saying "Walk...Reach...Carry...Three Seconds...Hack..." but it subsided as the lead got larger, and was never serious enough to merit a warning. Still a pain in the butt, though.

White's coach was a great guy with a sense of humor, perhaps because he knew he was overmatched. When one of his players fouled out, he begged: "Please, can you give him six fouls instead?" I declined.

But then, late in the game, White's coach said something that I need help understanding. Coaches/former coaches?

When I went to break up a huddle, this funny, nice guy was talking about what he felt was his team's lack of aggressiveness (our foul count indicated otherwise). He said that he wanted them to put some bodies on some people, push them around a little bit. "We'll get called for a lot of fouls," he said, "but that's okay. Let's put somebody on the floor."


Even if your team is timid, I don't think encouraging them to foul a bunch is ever a good coaching or teaching decision. Coaches/former coaches, can you explain to me why a coach would want to say this to a team? It's the second time I've heard it this year, and it baffles me.

As a result, partner and I called many, many fouls in the final 4-5 minutes. I think it took us about 10 minutes to get from the 2:49 mark of the fourth quarter to the 2:15 mark...between the endless chorus of "Two shots, players!", a couple of foulouts, and a couple of time outs. It was just horrible basketball...and I had dinner plans, dammit! What about my needs?

Nevertheless, I'm fine with the game I had. I just don't get the White coach's decision.

GOOD: Patience. Call selection.
WORK ON: I think I did some ball-watching later on. My coach management felt a little off with the jerk coach, but I don't know how I could make that better.
NEXT: Freshman girls on Tuesday.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Game Log 1/24/2008: Varsity debut 'round here

JV and Varsity girls' games tonight. Both were blowouts. I had high quality partners, which was nice (that, and not the quality of play, is the best aspect about doing varsity versus JV games).

On the whole, they were fine. Call selection was mostly good, and partners, both very good and very experienced, were complimentary. So I won't get down. But I did make two mistakes in the JV game that I'd like back.

--Mistake The First: Called a team-control foul before the ball was in-bounded. About a half a second after I called it, I knew it wasn't right, but I stuck to it. Partner said he knew I was wrong, but he didn't correct me because he "didn't want to run all the way down there." Fair enough for late in a JV game. Still, this was freakin' unforgivable. And I've been through it before, so I should have known better. (The title of that link is kinda sadly ironic given that I bungled it today.) Main culprit: I'm going too damn fast. "Team Control" was out of my mouth before it should have been. Oh well...nobody noticed.

--Mistake The Second: This one was weirder and more forgivable, but I still should have gotten it right. White was shooting free throws. Green violated by running down to a position in the blocks after White's shooter had the ball. I held out my fist, and said to myself what I say: "if she misses, I blow the whistle...if she misses, I blow the whistle." She missed, and I blew the whistle.

The problem was, she missed with an air ball.

Instead of taking a second to realize "Wait, that's a shooter violation, so it's a double violation...we need to go to the arrow," I gave my pre-rehearsed speech of "Violation, Green 23, we're shooting ONE." I sold it, and my partners went along with it, although all three of us realized about a minute or two later that we had it wrong.

Incredibly, about 10 minutes later, the exact same thing happened at the other end of the floor...lane violation on the defense, then shooter violation. My partner, even though he knew it was wrong, gave her one shot again--same mistake I made. That's a damn nice partner.

I adjusted to the three-man game fairly quickly. I probably could have rotated more, and I called a couple across the key as lead (Bad ref! Bad lead!), but a little rust and readjustment are acceptable.

Crap, though. This may be my only 3-man game of the year. But at least they noticed me and got me a varsity contest. And I did well enough (all of the mistakes were in the JV game...the varsity game was smooth) that they'll assign me more.

GOOD: Call selection, adjustment back to 3-man
WORK ON: Slow down, get the damn rule right by slowing down, don't call across key as lead
NEXT: Freshman boys tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One of my favorite things about officiating

is the drive home after a good game. Heart rate slowing down, sense of a job well done.

In the big city, I liked driving from the other side of town, driving through the skyscraper lights.

Tonight, I was at a small, 10,000-ish town about 10 miles away from my town. On my way back to the freeway, I had to drive through the small-town downtown and past the mill where many of the townspeople worked.

I felt the same sense of accomplishment surrounded by nighttime scenery. It's the same thing, just in a different place.

Game Log 1/22/2008: A First in My Career

I never thought I would do it.

But tonight I did.

The highlight of tonight's game was my first career call of ten-second violation on a free throw.

The girl went to the line. She bounced the ball. She bounced it again. She spun the ball. She held it up over her palm. She bounced it. She spun it. She spun it again. She held it over her head. She considered the basket.

I counted. 1...2...3...4...

I got to twelve, and there was no sign of a free throw.

I blew my whistle. It was the first of two shots.

"Ten Seconds! We'll shoot ONE."

Coach called me over, and politely asked "What was the call?"

I prepared for the onslaught. "Ten seconds, coach...and I actually counted to twelve."

He shrugged. "Sounds about right."

Cool guy.

Anyway, the night was totally smooth. Nine fouls in the first half (including a couple of illegal screens, which stopped, thankfully) then exactly one foul in the third quarter. My partner was a varsity guy, albeit not as experienced as I am. And we had a minor disagreement late.

With 1.1 seconds left in a 4-point game, White's coach shouted "Foul! Foul!"

White's little half-pint guard ran up and pushed the ballhandler with two hands. It wasn't vicious--the kid was half the ballhandler's size--and both players actually laughed in the aftermath.

But it was a no-brainer. Intentional foul. Just like every point of emphasis for the past umpteen years.

I got the laughing players back to halfcourt and set up for the two-shots-and-the-ball. Coach, again, was in agreement.

Partner was not. He said: "Next time, just call a push."

I thought "Hell no." I said "I disagree. We'll talk about it in the locker room."

We did, and didn't hash out the disagreement. Because he wouldn't recognize that I was right. Sigh...

Still, a great night and a fine game.

GOOD: Game flowed, coach communication, got illegal screens
WORK ON: Zoned out a little late
NEXT: My varsity debut in my new association. JV too. A lopsided matchup, but I'll take it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Game Log 1/21/2008: I was good; the fans were not.

Well, I suppose that a rough night was overdue, since I've cruised through the season so far.

Freshman boys. Two good teams, a first-year partner. First half was smooth--only ten fouls. The only issue was that I called 8 of them. I chatted with my partner at halftime about how, even if he didn't feel like there was anything happening in his area, we needed to be careful because he looked a little like the weak link. White led by 7.

Second half--well, to be honest, I feel like we were doing pretty well. Then, right at the end of the third quarter, there was a table screwup. Partner and I double-whistled on a foul on Blue 34. I released to him, since I had called most of the fouls at that point. He went to the table and signalled Blue 34. Problem was, the visiting book heard 44, who was a star in foul trouble. Blue bench was angry, and called time out. The assistant came out to say "Will you talk to each other, please? Will you talk to each other?" Problem: I had no idea what he wanted us to talk about. Problem 2: He was an assistant on the floor. I just escorted him back to the bench.

We didn't know what was up for a while, but eventually, I figured out what had happened. But by then, I'd had to warn the Blue coach and assistant. Partner separately warned them later (a T would have been in order for that, of course), but he basically settled down.

Then came a PC foul against Blue. It's possible I missed it...I picked up the secondary defender later than I would have liked...but he sure seemed like he was stationery early enough. Waved off the blue hoop. Coach was fine. Player was not...he made a snide remark later (no T...I was walking away and would have had to have turned around, picked up his number, then called it).

The worst part was the parent who left the stands (which were on one side of the court) to yak at me from the other. "You're a ten point difference!" he said. "You don't look like you've played the game!" he said. "There, call another charge!" he said.

A guy who will walk across the court to hound me is not welcome in the gym. I'd actually have put up with that from the stands, but he found his way to the other side of the gym to get closer to me and to be in a position where he wouldn't be heard.

Next dead ball, I asked the White coach to get the AD to get the guy out of the gym.

(Overreaction? I'm not sure. I guess I could have waited to see if it lasted another trip down the floor. Suggestions?)

Anyway, he shut up, perhaps because he saw me pointing at him from the White coach. Blue coach said: "You need to worry less about that stuff." Whatever, coach...I was already trotting away from him as he said it.

The AD didn't make it out to the freshman gym until after the game, so the chirping butthead fan never left. The AD was cool, though, saying "I can't believe anyone would get worked up about a freshman game." Then came the telling statistic: "That team was undefeated."

Was is the operative word there. They were outplayed, and decided to blame it on me.

Anyhoo. For about a half hour after the game, I was in the "why the hell do I do this" mode, but I'm better now. I had a fine game...nothing to be embarrassed about. Let's bring on the next.

GOOD: Demeanor in a pressurized situation, helped out partner
WORK ON: Assistant coach management, tune out especially obnoxious fan, pick up secondary defender earlier
NEXT: Freshman girls tomorrow.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Somebody noticed

I have been assigned a Varsity girls' game next week. Glad to know that they've decided I can handle it, and also glad to know I won't just be doing freshmen games all year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Game Log 1/15/2008: Rec ball and why I won't do it anymore

Two men's rec games. I've never done men's rec games before. They didn't go badly, but I disliked them.

Partner was fine, games were okay, but I just don't feel a ref can win in this culture. It comes down to there not being a coach or a leader to keep emotions in check. And guys being guys will bitch quite a bit. Normally, a warning is in order, then a T. In a regular game, with an adult in charge, a T will make the game go better. In a rec game? Not so much. A T might actually make things worse, especially in a 40-point game (like my second one). So the result is that the best choice is to take some shit.

On top of that, neither the basketball nor the mechanics will enable me to get better. I had a good partner, but something about rec ball leads us to not switching, certainly not reporting at the table, letting a few things go so the players can play with a little flow. It's just no fun. I can't recall any good calls or any bad ones (although my partner overruled an out-of-bounds call of mine...which I don't mind, but he could have done it with better communication).

In short, I don't need the money, I don't enjoy the games (like I often enjoy kids' games), and the assignment won't make me a better ref. I'd rather be home with my wife and cat. So, even if it puts me on the wrong side of my assignor, I suspect I'll turn adult rec games back in the future.

THINGS I DID WELL: Tried a new kind of assignment, didn't get lazy (ran throughout both games)
THINGS TO WORK ON: Not letting crappy mechanics carry over
NEXT: Freshman game in a week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Game Log 1/14/2008: Ugly matchup

Two relatively unskilled sets of freshman girls, one more so than the other. Green over White fairly easily. We let go quite a few palms (more than I would like), and looked the other way on some fouls in the second half.

It was a strange night. The first half featured a foul count of Green 7, White 2 at one point. Green's coach said the following: "It's seven to two!" I told her that her team was playing more aggressively, and that foul counts aren't always even. Her response: "But I only have nine players!" Puh-leez. That's weak and lame. In any event, her kids settled down, especially after halftime.

That's when White's went berserk. Lots of banging, especially on the perimeter. We wanted to let stuff go, but there were way too many slaps, pushes, reaches, etc. White's coach became annoyed, but whatcha gonna do?

I'm noticing a tendency to walk up to coaches to continue conversation. I don't feel right about that, but I think I know why it's happening. Confidence? No. Desire to communicate? No chance. I think I'm just accustomed to three-man. When the coach is looking at me with a question, or even with a little bit of a scowl, I feel like part of game management is to get next to the coach and chit-chat a little. Of course, in two-man, this takes me in directions the opposite of where I want to go.

Anyhoo...little to report. There was very little we could have done to make this game good.

GOOD: Controlled game, kept it moving as best as we could
WORK ON: Less chatting with coaches, get early palms
NEXT: Two men's rec games tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thanks, Dan Dierdorf. Take a flying leap, Boomer Esiason.

HUGE holding call flagged by Phil Luckett at the end of the first half that nullified an interception return for a touchdown by San Diego. The couple of replays didn't show it. When we went to the studio at halftime, Boomer Esiason ripped it to shreds, calling it "a bad call by Phil Luckett. Remember Phil Luckett? [with a wink-wink to Bill Cowher]"

Boomer, not only are you about a decade past funny, you're also wrong. Back at the time of the Thanksgiving coin flip controversy, nine years ago, even Pittsburgh TV reported that Jerome Bettis said "hea-tails..." and ran back to the sideline complaining "It hadn't hit the ground yet!" But without having looked at the relevant part of the play, Esiason decided it was time to dust off a cheap Phil Luckett joke. Hilarious, Boomer! What's next? Will you take up CBS' airtime with your arsenal of wacky Jimmy Hoffa, Dan Quayle, and Billy Carter jokes?

Try seeing the play first, Boomer. Not sure how? Listen to your superior colleague, Dan Dierdorf. He was much better. Here's what he said, verbatim off of the digitial recorder:

"That's Joseph Addai who's on Weddle's left shoulder. Weddle reels him back in and does not let Addai have the outside position that he had established. That's what the official saw, and that's why he threw the flag."

Good call or bad call? I'm not expert enough to say. But who did the better job as a commentator today? The guy who came to an angry conclusion without having seen a good replay, or the guy who analyzed the replay like he was, you know, an analyst?

Thanks, Dan. Keep it coming.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wow! Table problems!

When I have good people at the scorer's table, it makes a significant difference in the night. When I don't trust the scorer, the world can be miserable. What's worst is when some little kid is on the job. The attention span just isn't good enough.

But I guess it can happen to anyone. The NBA is replaying the end of a game because the scorers mistakenly thought Shaquille O'Neal had six fouls. He only had five.

I'm fine with human error here, but not fine with the fact that they apparently didn't check with the backup, computerized book during time outs like they were supposed to. Had they done so, none of this mess would have happened. With that in mind, and that this is a misapplication of a rule rather than a challenged judgement call, I'm cool with the restart.

There hasn't been a situation like that in 24 years. The Lakers' Norm Nixon faked a foul shot, causing players from both teams to jump into the lane with three seconds left in a close game. Referee Jack Madden called a jump ball. Commissioner Larry O'Brien ruled that Madden misapplied the rule. So instead of the Lakers winning in overtime, the Spurs won in regulation. How do I remember this? Faintly. I was a 13-year-old NBA fanatic for that, and I remember Nixon faking the free throw. The rest I got here.

Game Log 1/11/2008: Back to good games

Freshman boys--big schools.

The game started with my partner showing up late. I did what one does in this situation--told both coaches that I knew my partner would be here (we'd had email contact), told them I might miss out-of-bounds lines and the kids should play until the whistle, told them that I'd call everything I could off-ball. You know that sinking feeling of looking to the entrance every thirty seconds? Ick. So I started the game solo, and the kids played good, clean, energetic ball for 3:30. I called my first foul of the game just as partner showed up.

The game was smooth--only nine fouls in the first half, 18 in the second half (compare to 18 in one quarter yesterday) and reasonably-skilled players. Post players responded to talking, although I did tweet one White player for pushing off. He had pushed off the previous play, posting up on a defender who fronted him, but the ball sailed out of bounds. I just gave the ball to Red, and when the Red defender complained, I said "The ball went to you," and he nodded. I wanted to chat with the pusher-offer, but didn't have a chance, and when he did it again the next trip down, it was a complete no-brainer.

I had a chat with a coach. He was bummed with one non-call early on...felt a Red player was barrelling down with his shoulder (I felt like the defender was backing up, so not much contact and no real call, at least from my position as lead on the other side of the key, and why the hell was I looking there anyway?), and then he felt like I bailed the kid out with a ticky-tack call on "a shooter behind the backboard" (I may have bailed him out, but it wasn't a ticky-tack, and he was shooting a reverse layup that wasn't an unreasonable shot). Anyway, later on, he was sitting in his seat bitching loudly about my partner's call close enough for me to hear. I decided to step over. I'm undecided on whether this was a good move or not.

COACH: (mutter loud mutter unflattering loud mutter)
ME: (stepping over) Coach, I'll only respond to polite questions. I won't respond to a complaint.
COACH: I wasn't asking a polite question!!!!
ME: (Legitimately surprised at the coach's candor, I laugh.) Then don't talk, coach.

That last witty bit of mine probably was not a good idea. Should have left it with the previous statement. In spite of this, I think the tactic wound up being effective. A few trips down the floor later, he said "Could you watch for three seconds on 55 White?" My response: "OK, sir." (Memo to self: no more calling coaches "sir.") Next trip down, I had a legitimate three-second call on 34 White. While I don't like the fact that it looked like I was influenced by the coach, I do think he may have learned that polite questions are effective. Something about flies, honey, and vinegar, I think. Still, I'll try to avoid the temptation for that last word.

White was the better team, up by double-digits or high single-digits for much of the second and third quarters. But Red had a good run in the fourth, and next thing we know, it's a one-point game with under three minutes to go. Gut-check time!

It was short-lived. White took command very quickly, and was up by 8 with 30 seconds to go.

Here's where I showed my stripes (pun intended).

White was passing the ball around, looking to run out the clock. Red was going to foul them, and unsuccessfully. Then, White found a kid all alone under the basket. He went up, and a Red player took a step and a half to him and gave him a moderate forearm shove in the back.

Intentional Foul. Player was displeased. Coach was silent, and subbed for the player, and (I fervently hope and perhaps even believe) told him why my call was good.

Was it a violent foul? No. Was it vicious? No. Was it intentional? You bet your ass it was. In my game, we will not shove shooters in the back when clearly beat and while making no effort whatsoever to go for the ball (the fouler didn't even jump).

It wasn't a perfect game. I called 10-seconds at one point, and did so timidly--I think because of my girls' ball past, I felt kinda funny calling it, like I was forgetting something. And I fell into ball-watching, I think because I'm a little sleepy lately.

But I think I'm doing all right on these freshman games. I just hope somebody notices.

GOOD: Gutsy, correct call late, talked to players, felt like I had a presence
WORK ON: Shut up to coaches, focus more on off-ball
NEXT: Freshman game--I forget the gender--on Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Game Log 1/10/2008: A new record, and not a good one.

The timid boys' freshman team I had a few games ago that got blown out made another appearance tonight. They couldn't handle the press, and were down 16-0 before just about anything happened. The press relented, and they stuck around, pulling to within 10 at half. They were clearly outclassed, but hanging in there, and once they could get to halfcourt, the basketball was all right.

Then came the third quarter--probably the worst quarter of basketball I remember officiating. I wasn't bad...but they were horrible.

18 fouls. EIGHTEEN. FOULS. In one quarter.

I think that the coach of the timid team, Red, has told them they need to be aggressive. They're not good enough to be aggressive, however. They had 10 fouls. White had 8. It was really disgusting basketball. None of the fouls were at all borderline (I heard very, very little from either coach or even the fans). And Red actually got aggressive.

I emptied the toolbox.

Red's point guard opens the quarter with a forearm to the face of a shooter. He was going for the ball, but missed. It wasn't intentional, but it was ugly.

Red's forward gives a push to a shooter. It was light, but it was on the shooter. I thought it was fairly ugly. I talked to the coach. "34 is getting upset, coach. That was a bad one." Coach thanked me and pulled him.

Red's captain is angry. He's angry because he thinks he's getting fouled on his drives. There are some small reaches, but all--and I mean all--of captain's drives are out of control, with no hope of any kind of good shot. He might have shot ten percent...probably less. I will NOT bail him out with a ticky-tack reach. So he starts throwing his body around. He picked up his fourth foul (the aforementioned forearm) on the opening possession of the third. He picked up his fifth, throwing a shoulder out to get a driving opponent, early in the fourth. Good riddance. He yanked his jersey up on the last call, but did it just as my back was turned. I didn't call the T. Maybe I should have...I'll get the next one.

I talked to the players on free throws. "Clean it up, guys."

I tried humor. "Guys, you all have school tomorrow. We can't stay here all night. Clean it up!"

I chatted with the White captain at the start of the fourth. "Will this quarter be cleaner, captain?" He actually asked "What do you mean?" I clarified: "Fewer than 18 fouls." He said he'd talk to everyone.

But you know what? The game was really awful--one of the lowest-quality games I can remember--but I was good. The game was, seriously, lucky to have my partner and me. I like that.

Had one good exchange with the winning coach. He said to me (politely, actually): "I could hear that slap from here. What happened?"
Me: "My partner had a better look at that than I did."
Him: "You don't have to see it. You could hear it."
Me: "But I do have to see it to call it."

I'm rarely that witty on the spot.

GOOD: Game control. Used the toolbox. Called it tight (as it desperately needed).
WORK ON: I didn't feel like the game needed the T, but maybe it did. I also gave Red a time out when they didn't quite have the ball. Can't do that.
NEXT: More freshmen tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Game Log 1/8/2008: Great game tonight

Girls freshman tonight--two great programs from opposite sides of the city. It was a tremendous ballgame in just about every way it could be. My partner, a relative newbie, did fine (although I wish he'd have brought in more subs...I had to watch for that all the time). First half featured exactly nine fouls! We flew through it. The second was about as good. Coaches mostly stayed quiet (one minor chirp from one coach). Players played. It was outstanding ball, and my partner and I were good in it (although it would have been a tough game to screw up).

With about 5 minutes left, the teams realized they were in a tight game, and suddenly the game got a little ragged as players got excited. We were there--calling appropriate travels and fouls. I think I kicked one with two minutes left, unfortunately...I called a player out of bounds on a save, but in retrospect, I'm not sure she was. The problem was that I was too close to the line and the player, so I couldn't see the ball and her feet at the same time. No big whoop.

Then it came...The Weird Situation Late In The Close Game.

Blue, leading by a bucket, has the ball with thirty seconds left. White plays great D. They're out by White's bench with the shot clock ticking down. Here's what I heard:


The tweet was mine. And man, did I sell that call.


I'm 99% sure I got it right. I knew the time out was called before the shot clock buzzer, so I gave it to her. (Why the offense would want to call time out in that situation is another question, of course, but not of concern to me.)

I managed that sucker late, checking with table, chatting with partner, showing I was in control. It was WONDERFUL.

White, alas, didn't get a shot off, losing the ball with a few seconds left. Then came what was Almost A Hugely Ballsy And Unpopular Call.

Blue threw the ball a couple of times as White said to foul. White chased the player down, and managed to get a hand on her back. Almost nothing, but in a situation where I know they want to foul, I want to get the first one. It's a damn good thing I did, too, because right as I called that one, White gave the player a two-hand push in the back. I would have had to call that an intentional, and with three seconds left, White would have been enraged (and I would have been right). But the hand on the back saved it.

Best of all...the assignor was there. He said it was a great game and that my feet were a bit in cement. He's right on both counts...I could have worked the arc more as trail. But it was a helluva fun night.

GOOD: Management, call selection, reffed defense
WORK ON: Movement as trail, depth as lead
NEXT: Freshman boys on Thursday.

Men's rec ball

Looks like my assignor has offered me some rec ball--I assume adult--for a couple of Tuesday nights.

I did two years of softball about a decade ago. I quit because I grew tired of drunken angry adults. I didn't have a partner, to be fair, but I simply hated it. I'm worried that adult rec ball will be the same.

I'm leaning towards saying yes so I can stay good with the assignor, but I don't want to start hating officiating. Should I say no?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Awesome article about NFL instant replay

is here.

I like the rule as it stands in the NFL more so than I do in college. It doesn't slow the game down much, and I like the coaches having a little power (to use or to squander).

Incidentally...why is the forceout a rule? If a player catches the ball, is due to come down in bounds, but is pushed out before he can land, why is this a completion? It seems to me that it's simply a great play by the defense (provided it's a push and not a carry). Eliminating the forceout rule would eliminate a subjective call that's not reviewable. Anybody want to justify the forceout?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Game Log 1/4/2008: Second verse, different gender

Tonight, it was a freshman girls blowout. 35 points or so, and never close--never close to close, in fact.

Partner was a longtime vet who got on my good side during our sideline pregame, saying "I need to force switches on fouls." Amen to that. We agreed that not switching takes us out of our game.

Very little to remark on in this one. We figured out the skill level for these girls, which was low, and let a few travels, etc. go, especially in the second half. These girls need to learn how to play basketball, and they won't do that if we blow every possession dead.

That said, there are a few things that we can teach them by calling them consistently. I called about a half-dozen three-second violations, mostly on the losing team. The players either didn't know the rule or didn't understand it, and the coach patiently explained after each whistle: "Katie, do you understand what happened there?" Nice. The same on two moving screens...pushes. "Do you know why he called that, Janet?" In the fourth quarter, I heard the coach saying: "We need to get our goals for this quarter." That's awesome...this team probably won't win any games this year, so it's nice that he's found smaller benchmarks to show their improvement.

I don't know what they're paying this guy, but it's not enough.

GOOD: Call selection suited to purpose
WORK ON: Stay alert late in game. Get in shape.
NEXT: More freshmen! (In fact, right now that's all that's on my schedule.) Tuesday night.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Game Log 1/3/2008: Freshman blowout

Boys' game tonight...big school with a great program against a small school with a not-so-good program. Sometimes that doesn't bleed down to the freshmen...but tonight it sure did. White beat Red by 45.

When we had a 20-point halftime lead, I chatted to my partner in the locker room. I said we needed to watch closely for frustration fouls. I also said that I didn't think we'd get many frustration fouls...Red seemed like they were accustomed to getting blown out. They also weren't playing at all rough...they were quite timid.

Third quarter flew by...three fouls, all on white (we took a pass on a couple for Red). Then the fourth quarter started. I heard the coach say to his bench: "We don't have any fouls yet! I don't think we had any in the first half, either! [Actually, they had six.] I need to see some fouls!"

Attention, coaches! Don't say that!

I made sure to get the first one as Blue went out and threw themselves around to try to show the coach their aggressiveness. It wasn't so bad...just a big slap/reach on the player passing him by. Good one to start with. Then another. Then another.

Time out with four minutes left. I say to my partner: "As much as I want to avoid one-and-one, there's some shit out here I think we need to call."

His response: "There's just four minutes left. They'll be OK."

Me: "I don't want anyone to get hurt."

It didn't come to that...things settled down immediately. Partner helped out by talking to them at a free throw, saying "Stop with the cheap ones, guys." There wasn't really any anger out there, which is what I most look for in blowouts...twice Red apologized for fouls.

Only one call I remember--end of the first half. I had very few calls in the first half--partner had more, just by luck of the draw. But on a fast break, White went up for a layup. Red was late...very late...running across the key. Red realized there was no chance, and, I think, tried to slow down. The result, however, was a pretty bad undercut. An intentional foul crossed my mind, but I don't think the intent was there...Red was actually ducking. Had he been pushing or throwing a forearm, I would have gone intentional.

I get distracted by partners who do not switch because it's "just a freshman game." But it's not time for me to fight partners. Yet.

GOOD: Stayed focused, called the necessary, talked to players
WORK ON: Ball-watched a little late. Didn't do boys' 5-second counts consistently.
NEXT UP: Girls' freshman game tomorrow.

Add Me! - Search Engine Optimization