Thursday, December 04, 2008

Game Log 12/4/2008: Good start

Smooth freshman boys' game tonight between two local powerhouses (the varsity game featured extremely good refs and a big crowd). Partnered with a relative newbie, but the game was pretty smooth.

First quarter featured only a few fouls. None at all for four or five minutes, then about four called by me while my partner had none. (He got one in just before the buzzer.)

Things were uneventful...White pulling away from Green, up by about 15 at halftime. The White coach was a chirper, yakking all night long. About 80% of it was at players, and about 20% was at us, but about 100% went in one ear and out the other. I honestly had no idea what he was saying. It was simply the soundtrack. Never out of control, but never quiet either.

I then called a foul with about a minute left in the third. Shooting foul against Green. As I reported the foul, the Green coach, who had said nothing all night long, said this:

"You guys call the game! You guys call the game!"

I was terribly confused. I figured maybe he was talking to his players...some weird motivational thing...couldn't figure it out. So I walked away.

At the end of the third quarter, I figured out what it meant. He came out and was barking at my partner, claiming that we were letting the White coach's commentary influence our calls. We absolutely were NOT. At least I know that I was not. I didn't even know the guy was saying anything when I made literally any call in the first three quarters.

But the human mind, when it believes there is a pattern somewhere, will find evidence of it whether the pattern exists or not. I must find a psychological study which exemplifies that, because it's sure as hell true of spectators and officials. It was also true of some unknown guy--I think he was somehow school related and not a parent--who started chirping at me at that point. "Don't let that guy call the game for you!" He earned a Big Ignore, for being an uninvolved man and a very, very poor mind-reader.

As the guy walked away from my partner--just as I was arriving--he exited saying "That's bullsh..." I didn't hear the "it." He dropped his voice, I think, and turned away at the same time. So no T for him. Not sure my partner would have called it even with the added "it." I sure would have, but I heard "bullsh," and "bullsh" is not a T in my book, especially when I'm barely arriving on the scene and the word is thrown at my partner.

Anyway, my mind started playing tricks a little bit from there. I didn't want to call anything that the coach was saying. For the first time, I started hearing it, and I may have passed on a call or two because I heard him yammering about something. Nothing major, but it was in my head.

Then, a White player fouled out. "That's five, coach," I said to the coach. "That's five," I said to the player. I turned to the table. "Start the time, and give me a buzzer in five seconds."


"Buzzer in five seconds, please."

I count to six. "Hit the horn, please."

Scoreboard guy didn't know why, but he did.

"Coach, I need a sub."

"Why? I get 60 seconds."

"Nope you get 20."

And the mind-reader behind the bench--mind you, on the opposite team--agreed with the dude. "It's 60."

It has NEVER been 60 in my career! I don't even think it's 60 in the NBA, although I avoid knowing too much about NBA rules (they screw me up). It was 30 until last year, when it was reduced to 20.

I informed both it was 20.

I HATE that combination of incorrect and confident!

Anyway, about a minute later, White coach was chiriping about 3 seconds calls, even though shots were going up. This guy REALLY didn't know the rules! So I finally figured out the solution, and showed him my palm, saying "That's enough." I heard no more from him, and that ended the problem.

In a way, I should have done that earlier, but earlier, he hadn't been bugging me! He was only bugging me once the Green coach started incorrectly bitching that I was being swayed...and it was bugging me only because Green coach had brought the whole thing up. So, on the one hand, I may have rewarded Green's bitching be showing my palm to the White coach. But on the other hand, it solved multiple problems for me late in a 30-point blowout, so I can live with that.

So, while I was annoyed at rule-ignorant coaches who believed they knew what I was thinking, I still say the game went pretty well. There's very little I'd like back, and I can live with that.

THINGS I DID WELL: Handled angry coaches well, mechanics felt good, in position OK.
THINGS TO WORK ON: The pause between whistle and speaking was not there. I'm still saying stupid stuff.
NEXT UP: Good girls' varsity/JV doubleheader tomorrow.


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