Saturday, May 7, 2011

Backboards, Angles and Small Gym Dimensions

Officiated a 7th grade girls basketball tournament today and had an interesting day.  The tournament was held at a high school I was familiar with but in the auxiliary gym instead of the main gym.  The high school's basketball teams always play in the main gym so I assumed the auxiliary gym was just for practice.    However, having been to other schools in the area who also had second gyms, even I was surprised to see the layout of the auxiliary gym.

The court was not quite full sized in terms of length though the width looked to be regulation.   There was no room on the sidelines.  The coaches, players and scorekeepers were basically right on the sideline.  The fans were on the other side of the court and there was a bit of breathing room but not much.  On one end of the court, there was a wall on one side of the court literally a couple of inches from the court.  On the other side, there were pipes protruding out a few feet from the end line so some pads were put there as protection.

The final surprise was that the gym had FAN SHAPED backboards.  I've seen these before and even played on some in pickup ball.  However, I am not sure any of these kids had even seen or played on anything less than a glass backboard which most gyms use for games.

Given all of these weird conditions in the gym and plus the first game was at 9 AM, I think the teams came out a little sluggish.  Both teams struggled offensively as the rims and backboards were not as soft as the usual ones the kids were used to.

I think even my partner and I came out sluggish as well.  The play was sloppy and we tried our best to call stuff but my partner and I were admittedly second guessing ourselves a bit early.  The reason was the gym dimensions were throwing off usual officiating angles.  The fans and coaches were annoyed but didn't understand that even officials need to adjust to gym conditions as the players do.

Regardless, my partner and I talked a lot during halftime and made our adjustments.  It was obvious we weren't going to get our usual angles so we just had to help each other as much as we could.  The lead official took the brunt of the responsibility because the trail had trouble following plays due to the confined nature of the court.

From the second half of the 9 AM game and into the rest of the games I worked today, things went fine and there were minimal complaints.  All in all, it was a fun day and I have some more fun tomorrow.

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