Monday, May 16, 2011

Basketball Game Scheduled.....Wrestling Match Broke Out.......

I was officiating a 5th Grade girls basketball league championship tonight and it was an entertaining affair that went into overtime with the final score was 21-18.

Alas, that was the end of the good news.  The problem was the game was played at a very small venue.  The court size itself was not quite high school regulation but for 5th graders, it was fine.  The main issue was the lack of spectator seating.  The fans for both teams were packed all around the sidelines and endlines for the game.  There was hardly room along the sideline for inbounding the ball.

The lack of space ratchets up the tension and intensity for the game.  These 5th graders were NOT high level players.  Thus, they were probably nervous and it didn't help to have a hundred or so fans cheering every move as the game went on.

The other issue was the poor play of both teams.   There were a few decent players on the floor but the passing, rebounding and other basic skills were a little lacking.

I don't blame the players or coaches for this.  This particular league relies on volunteers for coaches (usually alumni, parents or other interested parties).  Some coaches are good but others are just not that experienced.  Also, practice time can be limited so it's tough to develop players skills.

However, one thing I wish coaches would emphasize less is the "grab the ball" mentality.  This causes kids from 3rd to 8th grade to try and tie the ball up for "held ball situations".  The score was 21-18 and there must have been at least 20 (if not more) "held ball situations" that we had to whistle tonight.  I called some quicker than usual because I didn't want the kids to accidentally hurt themselves trying to wrestle the ball away.

All of this being said, I had fun officiating it.  These kind of games are easy to work.  With some many fans around, I just tune every body out and focus on the players.  In fact, sometimes I feel that in the midst of chaos (players all over the floor, parents and coaches screaming), I'm the calmest guy in the building.

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