Monday, November 30, 2009

Game Log 11/30/2009: Jamboree

Worked two ten-minute quarters tonight. No big whoop. Felt in control all night, and only had one call I'd like back (a shove on a rebound--it was there, but I should have held the whistle just a tad because I called it on the losing/defense team just as a three-pointer zipped through the net). Also, a double whistle I probably shouldn't have tooted. I was L and called a rebounding foul on Blue the opposite side of the key, and went up at the same time as my C. C said "Do you have a foul on White?" and I lied and said yes because he had a FAR better look at the play. Kudos to me for delaying after the whistle--my season-long goal to slow down is already paying dividends!--but still, I'd have been better off never blowing the whistle on that one at all.

Had a great pregame...but only with one partner, since the other was in the stands chatting with other officials. Bummer. But it made a big difference even with just the one partner. And further, the assignor was watching, and said we did well--that as a crew, he'd put us on any game. Nice!

One minor blunder. With no real rules changes in NFHS, I'm afraid I went into cruise control and sort of forgot a new high school mechanic: T is now mirroring L's chop-clock signal on baseline inbounds in the frontcourt. Totally forgot it, and assignor reminded us between Jamboree mini-games. No sweat. Then, with 6 seconds left, I was T in such a situation. "That BloggingRef is really intelligent," he said to those around him. "You only have to tell him something once, and then he's got it. Watch him chop the clock in on this." Alas, I made a liar out of him. I was too busy communicating last-shot stuff and totally forgot the new chop-clock mechanic. We got a laugh out of it, but I need to remember henceforward.

All in all, I still feel like I'm off to a good start. I look forward to the first real game tomorrow night.

GOOD: Felt comfortable, ran good pregame, communicated well with partners
WORK ON: More patient whistle as L, foot speed (these kids were quick, and I was beat a time or two more often than I would like)
NEXT UP: Small-school girls JV/Varsity doubleheader tomorrow. Time for the real games!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Am I reading too much into this?

I'm trying to figure out where I stand in this association, and I think I may like the answers.

Here are the clues that lead me to believe that I am gaining my assignor's trust and may be heading towards girls' playoff assignments (if not this year, then next).

--The assignor gave me the county all-star game at the end of the year--the one that all the officials in the association go watch as their final meeting. He could have picked anyone, but I was one of the three he selected. On the one hand, it's not that big a deal--just one assignment--but on the other, it was a public attaboy.

--When I asked the assignor what I could be working on this year, he didn't have much to suggest. "I think you had a good season," he said. "Do I look athletic out there?" I replied. "It's not so bad," he replied. "Maybe work on running style a little more? But it's not a big deal." He then added that he'd be giving me several games as R this year to see how I handle leadership. That's not too shabby.

--My December slate of games is interesting. They're all girls' games, so I think the assignor has concluded that this is where I'm best used. As he indicated, he's using me at referee (of the six games currently on my slate, I'm tossing for 4 of them). All are JV/Varsity, so there's no more slogging through C-team games (in good part because budget cuts have slashed the C teams from many local school districts, although not all).

What I find especially interesting is that he's using me at very small schools almost exclusively in December. What does this mean? Does he not trust me with bigger girls' games? Is he testing my leadership mettle out with the tiny schools? Or is he saving the big ones for later in the year?

I'm pretty clearly overthinking this. But I'm still optimistic and excited about this season more than any I can remember.

Game Log 11/27/09: Nine quarters

All right, so they were running clock scrimmage-quarters. And so we had four refs, and one of us was resting in each of the quarters; so I only worked 7 quarters, or 56 minutes of running clock. Still, it sounds pretty rugged of me to have done this.

Girls' scrimmage today. No real issues I noticed. The quality of play was hit-and-miss (the quarters with the varsity were far better than the quarters with the C-team bench), but I didn't have any real issues or any calls I'd like back.

What's most interesting is how I feel myself taking the reins of leadership a little more. I was one of two officials there who had a good deal of experience, and rather than defer to the guy who has been at it far longer, I stepped up and positioned myself in the role of co-leader. The new guys were good and listened to what we had to say. It was quite nice.

The one thing I'm consciously working on, slowing down, actually felt like it went well today. Only once did I say something non-NFHS-approved after tooting my whistle, and on the whole, I know I slowed down. Was my posture OK? I don't know, but I do know I slowed down and that this is most of the battle.

I called one foul across the key as L that I probably should have let T or C handle, but so did my three partners at other times. I felt I was consistent with travel calls. I simply felt good. Well, except for my left ankle, which seemed surprised to be back in action, but that soreness has already gone.

I'm glad I'm taking these games; the aforementioned junior high game, this varsity scrimmage, and Monday's jamboree. It's making me feel completely at ease for the year.

THINGS I DID WELL: Slowed down, showed leadership, call selection
THINGS TO WORK ON: Poached on across key as L, forgot to stay back once on press as C (went to sleep sometime in the sixth quarter...)
NEXT UP: Jamboree Monday--lots of good girls' teams will be there, so it'll be a good test for the couple of quarters they'll put me out there.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This year is different.

There are some scrimmages this morning, and our main assignor is there, saying that he'd like to see everybody. I wasn't sure I was available (we will be leaving town for Thanksgiving around noon), but I also know that it'd be good to be seen. I chatted with the wife, got clearance to leave this morning, then called the assignor to see if I was needed. He replied that he was covered, that if I could make it, go ahead, but it wasn't a big deal if I missed it.

I planned to go.

But wife woke up with the boy too often overnight, and as the alarm went off this morning, it was clear that wife's sleep before she bakes pies all day > my scrimmage.

So I'm home. I may catch the girls game a little later on this morning, but probably not.

It would have been nice to work a boys' varsity scrimmage, since I need practice at that level. And face time with the assignor matters too. But wife's sleep trumps all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Game Log 11/19/09: Getting back into it

Do I count this as my season debut? I guess I do. It was 7th-grade girls, and the primary goal was to get the rust pack my bag, to run around a bit, to see if I could slow down and have good posture. I can't say I succeeded at the latter, but I was out there running today.

The biggest part of today was my partner; a real first-timer. Probably a 16 or 17-year-old kid. I tried to be kind and gentle, saying things like "Don't forget to blow your whistle if you're going to signal a foul." I'm not making fun of him; we've all been there. And, to his credit, he improved in the second half. A lot. He even had an experienced official from our association watching him, so we talked quite a bit at halftime. I'll admit that I was doing some ball-watching, but this game entailed it. I know that if I can watch off-ball in a 7th-grade game, I can watch off-ball anywhere, but today, I sort of needed to look out for partner. I hope I was gentle enough with him that he's excited to move on.

By the way, no matter what the book says, in this game, a third step was not a travel. These kids wouldn't learn a single thing if all we ever did was blow every travel. We'll tighten up sometime in the next couple of years.

GOOD: Handled newbie partner, let a LOT go equally, ran without incident
WORK ON: Slow the hell down, posture.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I'm baaaa-aaaack!

09/10 sorta kinda begins today. I've got my first meeting tonight, and I'll likely get a scrimmage or two in over the next week or two, then start up with some junior high or little-kid ball to get myself ready for the real-live season after Thanksgiving.

Things might be a little bit different this year. As my silence over the summer indicates, things are a bit busy around here with the little dude. That has combined with a pretty huge increase in my responsibilities at work...all in all, there aren't enough hours to do everything. I seriously considered hanging 'em up, or at least taking a year off. My wife interceded. "You like doing this too much to give it up," she said. "But I'd never get to see you or the boy! On nights where the game is on the other side of town, I'd go straight from work to get a sandwich to get to the game! I'd leave before the boy woke up, and come home after he went to bed!" My wife responded as follows: "It'll tell you what," she said. "On those nights, we'll meet you at Subway for dinner."

I married up.

Anyhow, I just took my rules test. Got a 93. I cheated a -little- bit, but actually not too much. I looked for some of the stupid stuff (dimension of court, number of panels on the ball, etc.). But I studied the stupid rules (fashion) and the stuff that seldom comes up (fights, bookkeeping technicals, that stuff).

So, while I may reduce the number of games I do this year, I'll be back at it, at least a little bit. I'll start this year in decent shape, too. While my plan to run a bunch and call fouls didn't come to fruition, I did manage to walk a bunch with an infant strapped to my belly and eat pretty well. So I've lost 10 pounds--almost unheard of for an off-season.

I just need to recall my main problem from last year (geez, I'm just noticing I didn't do a year-in-review post. It's like I had a new infant or something.) It's that I go too quickly, and therefore look loosey-gooseey and non-athletic. This year, I won't call a foul without thinking "How do I look physically right now?" That will enable me to slow down and to look better.

But I suspect this year will be about figuring out if I can manage this with my newly-harried life getting in the way. We shall see.

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