Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Officiating (Part 1): Be Safe Rather Than Sorry

Sunday morning, I got a call from a guy to work some adult league games in the afternoon at the gym he works at. I had mentioned this adult league in one of my previous posts. It was the league that used NBA style rules instead of the traditional high school and/or college basketball rules. Since I had a fantasy football draft mid-afternoon, I agreed to work the two late evening games instead. The two games generated lots of interesting thoughts so I will share over three posts (at least that's the plan).

The first point I want to discuss is a situation that occurred tonight. The situation occurred late in the second (and last) game of the night. The White team, which had been leading much of the game, had fallen apart. The Black team had clawed their way back into the game and taken the lead. The White team was forced to foul to get the ball back. Alas, on one particular possession, one of the White players tried to foul a Black player and I decided to pass on the call.

The reason was that I didn't think there was sufficient contact before the Black player had passed the ball off to a teammate. However, the White player in question got frustrated with the no call and essentially tackled the second Black player. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed. The Black player was not injured and the White player understood why I passed on the initial foul.

However, I discussed this with my partner and he said I should have made the initial call. After thinking about the situation, I agree with my partner's assessment. I don't think the White player had any intention to harm the Black player that he tackled. If I just made the initial foul call, everything would have been fine.

Not to make any excuses, this was the first time I was officiating the league with it's rules. While the games went alright for the most part, I think I did spend a lot of time adjusting to the different elements. That may have contributed to my late no call. I think once I get used to working the league more, things should go much more smoothly.

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