Friday, January 09, 2009

Game Log 1/9/2009: A mistake and a T

Not the best night tonight. Nothing cataclysmically bad; no big fights or tragic errors or anything like that. But I didn't feel like we had a good night as a crew. I'll have to shake these off and move on.

The JV game (between two nearby tiny rural high schools...the gym was rocking) was very, very low quality. We probably passed on dozens of travels just to keep things moving along. I don't remember much from the game. My partners had a minor issue with lining up on a free throw, and there was something else I forgot, but it was a blowout. Between games, I said we needed to get back into things mentally.

Then something bizarre happened and I didn't respond well. I need to do the right thing in bizarre situations right off the bat.

Partner calls a foul as C, opposite table. There are two Red subs waiting at the table. From my position as T by the table becoming L at the other end, I turn around to start heading downcourt as partner is approaching to report his fouls. The two subs start running onto the court. I hold up a palm. "Wait! Stop! Don't go! Hold on!" The Red coach is yelling the same thing. But these kids are hell bent at running into the game. They pass me by as I'm trying to keep them from kid on either side of me!

This has never happened to me before at any doing this. It's so terribly rudimentary. Maybe that's why I kicked into 5th-grade-game mode and turned around and said "No, kids, get back on the sideline." They did, and I headed downcourt.

This is the primary mistake that led to the bigger, uglier mistake. I should have simply T'd the kids. This is freaking varsity. They need to know the rule. There would have been zero coach pushback. He was trying to keep them from going in just as much as I was!

But instead, I sent them back to the sideline. And ran downcourt (second mistake) assuming that my partner would beckon in the subs after the foul and handle them (third mistake). I needed to take charge; instead I sort of ceded it. They were his subs...he was at the table...but I was sort of involved at this point.

Then White inbounds the ball. Two dribbles into them walking the ball upcourt, a Red player dashes to the bench. They'd had six on the floor. It was fast enough and far away enough that I didn't call the required techincal foul (the one that I should have called when the players ran by me in the damn first place). That's the fourth, and probably the worst, error. I damn well should have called the T there if nothing else. I think somewhere, in my mind, I rationalized that that six-player situation was sort of my fault, and I got timid and just said "let's get on with it." Of course, the White coach wanted to know what the hell happened. She chatted with my partner, who said "it's not a correctable error, coach, and I didn't see it." I'm glad it wasn't me in that conversation. Not because coach was mad...she was civil...but because I had absolutely zero leg to sound on.

Stupid, stupid error...TWICE. It is a crew partners had chances to make it right just as I did...but I need to learn to be less timid and more of a leader. And teach kids the rules not by "being nice" but by assessing penalties for stuff like this.

Anyhow, none of this is related to the T, which was my first in over two years. And while I didn't feel we had a great game tonight, the T was rock-solid. The losing coach was getting pasted, but he was also bitching a lot...about nearly everything. I talked with him once or twice. In the third quarter, as kids ran in for a time-out, he yelled across the floor and across the gym at me: "Three seconds! DUH!!!" [The "duh" was done in unique 14-year-old fashion...see those mouth corners goign back and that beginning to an eye-roll? This junior-high moment has been brought to you by a man in his 40s or 50s.]

That move certainly made a T warranted--it's pretty lousy sportsmanship. But I decided to cut the guy a little bit of slack--he was losing, and the time-out moment didn't feel right. So during the time out I told my partners I'd be warning the coach as soon as the time out was over. I did. I said that shouting "Duh!" across the gym wasn't appropriate sportsmanship. His response was predictable: "Well, you've got to call the push on 22 White!" (Funny...he didn't even remember the three-seconds call he wanted when the time-out began!) I said "I'll watch for it, coach, but no more from you tonight." Well, I did see 22 White pushing right away, and I called it. But three or four trips down the floor later, I was C right in his pocket when, at the end of his offensive possession, he shouted, "You call that on us, why not call it on them?"

Technical foul. When I say "no more,' that's exactly what it means.

Hooray for the warning. When partner seatbelted him, partner said that the coach said "You guys need to call some hand checks!" (Again, changing to some other thing.) "All I said was you need to call it on us if not them...well...I guess he did give me a warning." HOORAY FOR THE WARNING. Coach actually joked with me later in the game, and honored the seat belt rule.

There was a pretty ragged 4-5 minutes that followed though. He was better, but his team was sort of pissed off (they were down by 30), and a lot of crap went on. Nothing ugly, just crap. We called what we had to, passed on what we could, and got out.

So, even though it wasn't a great night, my coach management was pretty good (I also had told an assistant coach--via Red's head coach--that she couldn't yell for calls, that I'd talk to the head coach but not the assistants). But that one mistake...ick. At least it happened in a blowout small-school game I'll get it right next time.

THINGS I DID WELL: Coach management, physically better
THINGS TO WORK ON: Don't use varsity ball to teach rules; use it to enforce them. Better crew communication, better leadership.
NEXT UP: Freshman boys game on Monday. I'll lay low this weekend...I've been busy lately, and while I'll be glad when the check comes, I do need a bit of a break. My wife and cat miss me.


At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMHO it was perfectly okay of you to not call a technical during the dead ball when the subs ran onto the court. In transition, you were right to let the C report his foul then handle the subs. Probably the best thing you could have done is slowly work your way down the court, but with your hand up (to make sure the new T doesn't inbound the ball) until you know for sure the C is taking care of the subs. Otherwise, I think you're being hard on yourself (but hey, that's a good quality to have as an official and something I do too).

As is usually the case with weird stuff like this - a good pre-game is your best friend!

At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly, to the point where I'm probably staying close to where I was until the C reports to make sure he gets the subs.


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