Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Game Log 12/9/2008: One big mistake, generally pooped

The first call of my two-not-too-good-teams Varsity game tonight was not a good one.

I'm U1, chopping in the clock on the jump ball. I say to myself what I've said to myself for every jump ball in my career: "If White wins, I run right. White is right. White is right."

I'll have to adjust that, because Green and White jumpers went up, rattled the ball around, and Green caught the jump ball.

My mind just said "Oh! Green got it...run left!"

So I did.

None of the three of us tooted our whistles for a jumper catching the jump ball.

Yeesh! That's pretty bad, but it honestly didn't even occur to me that that had happened until White's coach asked me a polite question at the first whistle. Bizarre. I paused, thought, and then said "Coach, I flat-out missed it." That ended it. U2 certainly could have had it, but he's new to varsity and was rather nervous. R could have had it, but by the time he put the whistle in his mouth, I guess he'd decided it was too late. It's a crew mistake, but I'm taking much of the responsibility. Dammit, I know the rule, so why'd I manage to completely not have it register in my head that it had happened?

Long games tonight, both JV and Varsity, and far from home, so I'm a little tired. I'm short sleep and battling a minor medical issue that I'll have taken care of with minor surgery tomorrow. But mostly, I just noticed my mind wandering. I felt good about the rest of the JV game--the calls were just fine. But I sort of felt sleepy.

That carried over into the Varsity game. There were eleven fouls called in the first quarter, nine on Green. Somehow, I whistled NONE of them. I got my first foul in the second quarter (a good off-ball moving screen). Green was up 14 at half, so I told myself to stay focused and ref it a play at a time from there.

But White came back. The game came down to the final minutes, much to my surprise.

With three minutes left, R called us over and said "OK, this is close. It needs our full attention and effort. I'm going to tell the coaches to stay in their boxes, and if they leave, it'll be a T."

Thirty seconds later: T on Green. I respect him for calling it, but I'm not sure that 2 minutes left in a close game is the time to do it. (R said as much after the game, although he believed--correctly--that Green was gaining an advantage by being out of the box. Still...)

R also warned us about White's coach, who he said was a former ref who had left the association under controversial circumstances and who liked to ride refs and tell them what to do. I guess I've developed a thicker skin this year, because none of what he did (which honestly wasn't much) bugged me. I did show him my palm with two minutes to play, simply because I didn't like him trying to get in my ear on a free throw then. I said "Coach, there's two minutes left. I don't want to hear you anymore. You can do two minutes." It worked.

One of the reasons it was close was that Green's best player fouled out. It happened early in the fourth, right after I'd gotten together with my partners, saying "Guys, 45 Green has four fouls. Just so you know." I was T when 45 drove baseline and collided with a defender (who, respectfully, I didn't think was there yet). Rookie partner called it a PC foul as Lead. It was more his call than mine, since the drive was baseline--so even if I had the block call, it's a good thing I didn't whistle it...we'd have blarged for sure. Not surprisingly, the Green coach was displeased. (He'd be more displeased when he got the T later.)

Anyway, I just wasn't quite with it tonight. Game was fine, and my calls were fine...no huge "Oh my GOD" moments. But I never quite tooted the whistle like my partners did tonight, and my brain wasn't as fast as I'd like it.

I now have a week off due to work commitments and the aforementioned minor surgery. I think it's probably a good thing. The day job is kicking my ass right now, so a little break from reffing likely will be good for all aspects of my life.

THINGS I DID WELL: Composure late in close game, coach communication

THINGS TO WORK ON: R said I only signal violations with my right hand. I hadn't noticed, but I think he's correct. I may need to focus on that...maybe call my next freshman girls' game entirely left-handed just to prove to myself that I can. Also, get my brain in the stinking game. Also, change my jump-ball mantra to "White is right, and watch for the weird. White is right, and watch for the weird...."

NEXT UP: Thursday: Mega-small religious school vs. mega-small rural school. Two varsity games; the latter will be my first-ever boys' varsity game.


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