Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Game log 12/8/2009: Challenging and weird

Weird night. JV and Varsity girls games.

The JV teams weren't terribly skilled, and they gave us plenty of opportunities to call fouls. Not much we could pass on, either--these were NOT ticky-tacks. To give you an idea how many we called, the varsity game wound up starting 35 minutes late. But I can't think of a single one I'd like back. The main problem was, as the game went on (and on, and on...), we were sort of lulling ourselves to sleep. I took control in the locker room and warned everybody that we would need to step up and speed our brains up for the second game.

One weird call in the first half--not mine. Partner A had an elbowing technical foul against Blue. He didn't call it flagrant--didn't eject the player. Coach and player were upset, but fortunately player said "I had to do it; she had my jersey!" I think that made the sale of the call much easier. We went on from there.

The problem was that Partner A and the coach seemed to know each other from the past. So while I was getting literally no guff the whole game, Partner A was getting it. No issues in the first half, though.

In the second half, things started to get weird.

Partner A had at least 8 travels on Blue. Maybe a dozen of them (and only 1 or 2 on White). I do not remember me or partner B (a guy who's on his way to being a great official, but only in his second year and a tad deferent) calling a travel on Blue.

It looked bad. It looked a little like a vendetta. To be sure, partner A was callign stuff elsewhere. And I don't think he had a vendetta or any ill will. I just think he decided he needed to call every travel.

I probably should have gotten together at a time out and stressed crew integrity, maybe between the third and fourth quarter. But I didn't--it didn't feel enough to call everyone together about. In retrospect, I wish I would have, because Blue coach's behavior started to go downhill.

The part of the night that bugged me most was during Blue free throws when I was next to the bench. The player (elbower) was next to the coach, and she was pissed off about something Partner A was doing. Coach was encouraging unsportsmanlike behavior. "Don't worry about him," he said to her. "He's just like that. They call him Captain T." I managed to say to the player "Kid, keep your cool. I'm right here." But I chose not to disrupt the conversation. I guess if the coach wants to teach disrespect, I can't stop it, even if I would like to. But I know, as a teacher, that even if I don't like a fellow adult in the building, I would never actively undercut one like that. He continued to mutter--for my benefit--about the partner even as the kid walked away. I ignored it.

Anyhow, with about four minutes left, he had added the play-by-play from hell. Typical stuff--wanting three in the key when shots were going up, wanting everything (even though we were already calling a LOT of fouls on very-aggressive White). And, again, all of the coach's bile was directed towards Partner B...until I had a pretty freakin' obvious forearm-in-the-back-on-a-free-throw-rebound. Easiest call of the night.

He went bonkers. "You're going to call her for boxing out???"

I kept my cool and approached him. "Coach, two things. First of all, you don't box out with your forearm in the back."

"How'd the player get around her?"

"It doesn't matter how. Your girl's forearm gave her a big shove in the back. Secondly, I've had enough of you. I don't want to hear you anymore. No more. (give the palm signal)."

In retrospect, those sentences have too much "I" and "you" in them. I'll try to ease up a little...go with "coach, this is not sportsmanlike behavior, and it needs to stop. Enough." But still, I think I handled it okay.

I even gave him one slip-up...barking for three-in-the-key...before T-ing him up for a loud "OVER THE BACK!" Again, like most T's, this was for persistent infringement, not for the one outburst.

It's hard to say whether our lack of crew integrity contributed to this guy getting so worked up. I'd already had him this year, and he had acted like a total angel (although, to be fair, his team won by 30 that night...tonight, they won by about 10). I need to think through what to do in future situations like that. I think I had a good night, but I don't know that we were as good as a crew as we should have been, so in the end, I guess that reflects on me. That's that. It is what it is.

THINGS I DID WELL: Call selection, pregame, felt fairly consistent
THINGS TO WORK ON: More care with "you" to a coach, crew integrity
NEXT UP: Have a week off due to family coming to town. I have tiny-tiny schools oubleheader on that day--girls and boys varsity.


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