As time as moved on, I realized I didn't want to spend my whole day officiating. It's tiring. It can be stressful. Simply put, sometimes officiating is something that should be done in moderation. So for much of the past five years or so, I've cut back and work a few games here and there. I look at it as a chance to catch up with people around the league, get a little exercise and get paid for it.
Today was a major exception. Due to a major shortage of officials, I signed up for SEVEN games spread over two gyms. I'm too tired to write a ton but some highlights and lowlights on the day.
- The first two games of the day (4th grade / 5th grade) were barn burners. The 4th grade game ended up with one team winning at the buzzer 11-10. The 5th Grade game had a final score of 24-22. It was a fun / intense way to begin a game.
- At the first gym, I was officiating solo. It was fine for the 4th grade game but the 5th grade / 6th grade games I had were challenges to work due to the teams pressing. I made it through but it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to do.
- During the fourth grade game, an interesting situation occurred. The wining team actually had TWO players with the game uniform numbers. I was not aware of this when the game started but heard the coach mention to someone. As the third quarter started, I issued a technical the protest of the coach. The coach said "The school issued the uniforms like this and the other teams they had played in the weeks prior were ok with the jersey situation". I politely disagreed with the coach and strongly suggested he take up the issue with the school. The coach actually disagreed with me on this.
- After working my first three games, it was time to get some food. The area I was in had good food but parking was difficult. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to try and park at a nearby gym where an adult basketball tournament was going on. I was going to be working the tournament tomorrow but wanted to take a look at the games happening. PLUS, I knew they had some food there for players, coaches and officials. I was fortunate to find a parking space near the gym. I managed to watch a game, talk to a few folks, have a "pre-game" with one of the officials tomorrow (he was working today as well), and of course get some food.
- After getting my food, I went off to officiate my second set of games. Parking around this gym was a pain. I looked around for some 20 minutes before settling on a stop 2 blocks (including one hill) away. This second set of games had higher caliber of teams but there wasn't anything too eventful.
- The one exception was from a 5th grade team. The visiting team was losing. In the fourth quarter, a home team player set a pretty bad screen. Both my partner and I had the foul called. However, the assistant coach of the visiting team was complaining about the foul being flagrant or intentional. It was just a BAD SCREEN. I had to tell the assistant to calm down as I understood they were losing and maybe frustrated. After the game, the assistant coach told me he was offended that I had mentioned they were losing. He told me he was going to report me to the league for my comments (sure, go on ahead).
- On the flip side, a parent of the home team also talked to me and my partner after the game. The parent mentioned that a coach of the visiting team had made some comment to his son. The coach had said something about the son being a "dirty player" or something. I was a little shocked but not entirely surprised given the assistant coach's attitude toward me earlier. I informed the home team parent that I would mention the incident to the league.
All in all, it was a long day but a good day. The weirdness aside, the games were competitive for the most part and the coaches were generally ok.