Friday, April 20, 2012

Never Take A Game For Granted

Forgetting all the rules and mechanics of basketball officiating, there are usually two truisms that found to be true when officiating.

ONE - Never take a game for granted.   No matter how team's records are or if they don't look too good during warmup, you always need to be prepared to work the game.

TWO - If you are working a set of games (usually youth or adult leagues), the LAST game is usually the hardest or most difficult to work.

I found both of these to be true tonight in working some youth games.  I had a set of three games to work (6th grade, 4th grade and 3rd grade - all girls). It was a bit unusual to have a 3rd grade game to be the last one in my set but that was how it was on the schedule.  Since the 6th grade game needed a partner, I had a partner to work both the 6th grade and 4th grade games with me.   However, I was to work the 3rd grade solo.

The 6th grade / 4th grade games were mellow and uneventful.  My partner was someone I hadn't worked with before but I knew him from seeing him around.  We were just spending time talking about officiating and other things.

As the 4th grade ended, I noticed there was pretty large uptick in fans filing in for the 3rd grade game.  In one sense, it was unusual but on the other hand, 3rd graders usually get more fans than the older kids.  I didn't think much about it though.

As it turned out, the 3rd grade was the best game of the night.  On one hand, it was fun to work.  On the other hand, it was a bit of surprise to me to see the competitiveness.  Right off the bat, I called 3 or 4 fouls on both teams as the kids came out hard.

The game was intense and I had to work hard (especially solo) to cover everything.  Some parents were a bit idiotic as usual and the gym director had to calm them down a bit over some situations.

The final score was 20-18 and I exited the gym as soon as the game ended.  While I didn't necessarily take the 3rd grade game for granted, I definitely didn't think it would be played at a high level.  Fortunately, I was able to get my intensity level up and focus and get past the game relatively well (though parent may disagree).  It was a good reminder that any game can be competitive and you have to be ready.