Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's A Matter Of Perspective

About a month or so ago, I was officiating a freshman/sophomore girls basketball tournament and had a conversation with my partner between games.  What stood out during the conversation was my partner's point about being careful when you talk about a call your partner made.

There were two specific points about this.  The first point is that some partners DO NOT LIKE having other people questioning their calls, even if it's just to discuss things.    If you know your partner well, then it's not a particularly big deal.  However, if it's a partner you don't know well, you may have to dance carefully, even if your intention is not to offend.   In fact, I may have done that a few weeks prior to a partner (again unintentionally).

The second point is the primary point though.  The fact is officiating is a matter of perspective.  Everyone in the gym from the players, coaches, fans, and scorekeepers have their own perspective.  However, it's the officials that have the final say.   Even though officials work together to manage the game, each official also has their own perspective.

What the lead official sees from his location may not be the same as the trial and vice versa.   My partner brought up an example where a play occurred and there was a camera angle that showed what the trial official saw.  From that perspective, there did not appear to be any foul.   However, when the angle of the lead official was shown, there was definitely a foul that was seen that could not have been seen from the trial's perspective.

It was a very eye opening discussion but a stark reminder at just how difficult officiating is.  As someone who's coached, played and officiated, I understand the difference perspectives involved.  However, folks who have not officiated before sometimes do not grasp this.  I hope that everyone will learn to appreciate that what you see on the court is determined by your perspective.  Officials are generally the ones with the best perspective as they are constantly moving.  Fans and coaches do not generally most themselves to get the best angle yet they are constantly berating officials for "missed calls".  I hope that fans and coaches get a better appreciation of this aspect instead of just blindly berating officials.

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