Monday, August 9, 2010

The intersection of officiating and life can be a frustrating one......

I've noted in this blog in recent months that I haven't been officiating much.  Part of is getting some mental downtime.  The other thing is that work just simply gets in the way.  A great example is tonight.  I was off for Friday and today while I went on a trip over the weekend.  When I got home tonight to check my work email, I realized I had training scheduled tomorrow afternoon which conflicted with a couple of youth games I had just accepted last Thursday.

Over the years, I think I've developed a reputation of being reliable and dependable.  I don't recall ever having to turn back games at the last moment.  If I wasn't sure I couldn't make games, I wouldn't take them.  If any conflicts came home, I generally notified the assignor a couple of days in advance.

That reputation will help me get past this situation tonight.  However, it reminds me that balancing officiating with other aspects of your life is difficult.  I'm fortunate to not have a family or other obligations besides work at the moment.

Officiating is a fun advocation (hobby if you must).  I always like to work more and get better but the reality of life sometimes gets in the way.

A foul is a foul when the official calls it......

I spent most of my time this weekend camping and white water rafting.   However, the night before I headed up, I was sleeping over a friend's place and brought along some reading material in the form of "Referee" magazine.

There was an interesting article on "intentional fouls" and how the application of the rule these days stray far from the actual written rule these days.

That article got me to think about a few things involving basketball officiating and regular personal fouls.  One of the annoyances I have with officiating is with parents (youth level) and players (adult leagues) that cry about fouls that WEREN'T called.  Not to pick on the parents or adult league players as high school and college coaches will whine too.  However, they are generally better informed about the game than parents and adult league players.

When it comes to officiating basketball, calling fouls is very subjective.  The basic definition of a personal fouls is that a player cannot impede the normal offensive or defensive movements of an opposing player.

However, officials usually apply this rule with the philosophy of advantage / disadvantage.  Did a player gain any advantage by performing some action (holding, hand checking, etc, etc)?  If the answer is YES, then the official will blow the whistle and call the foul.  If the answer is NO, then the play will go on.

That is why my subject line says:  A foul is a foul when the official calls it

I am not saying that officials are perfect.  We WILL miss some fouls that should have been called.   However, everyone needs to give the officials more credit.  If you felt that a foul should have been called but it wasn't, then give the official the benefit of the doubt.  They probably had a good reason for not blowing the whistle.

Rather than arguing about it, you should quietly talk to the official during a time out and see what they say about the situation.  Arguing about a non-call is generally non-productive.  Officials will not go back and suddenly change their non-call.  Plus, this could lead to a technical foul if things go too far.  

Just some things to keep in mind from the perspective of an official.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Taking Time Off Mentally

I love to officiate basketball.  Despite not officiating much recently, I have to admit there's a great rush when you officiate a great basketball game.

On the other hand, there's a reason why I take time off.   I don't know if it's my personality, but I find it a mental strain to work so many games constantly.  I don't think I have thin skin but perhaps I am more emotional than other officials.

There are some fellow officials I know who can easily officiate 4 to 5 days a week for almost the entire year.  There is enough basketball games between youth, AAU, high school and adult leagues/tournaments if want it.

For me, my busiest time is between November and May.  I work high school game constantly during that time as well youth and adult leagues/tournaments.  However, once May ends and the season ends, I go into hibernation a bit.  I still officiate every now and then but don't take as many games.  I really enjoy the downtime away from officiating.  

I compare the downtime to taking a vacation from your regular job.  Many people work years without taking a vacation.  However, as a few of my friends told me,  when you take a vacation from work, you realize how much stress you go through on a day to day basis.   Vacation allows you to get away and forget about work (at least for a short while).

So while I did work a bit the last few days, I have enjoyed my time away from officiating.  In about a month or so, youth volleyball is going to start up and I'll probably be involved.  Then before you know it, high school basketball is coming around the corner.