Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reviving The Passion

Just like anything in life, things tend to come and go in cycles.  Something new piques our interest and we go "all in".  Then over time, the new thing becomes boring and we move onto other things.

For me basketball officiating was somewhat like that.  There are two differences though.  Unlike many of my basketball PLAYING friends, I actually have an interest in officiating and like being on the court.  I like getting paid like anyone else but the money is a secondary thing if I can work some good games.

The problem with me is that officiating has always seemed to conflict with LIFE.  My high school officiating career has been one of "starts and stops".  My first year was derailed due to my work schedule.  I finally got a chance to work more games in my second and third years culminating in working a league semi-final playoff game (my highest level game thus far).  But since then, work, personal and family matters have all gotten in the way.

At one point, I was ready to step away from high school officiating.  I was juggling work, playing basketball and personal stuff.  However, after thinking about things, I stuck around this past season (2013-2014).  I didn't work too much until late in the season when I suddenly worked a few tough games.

It was after those games that I realized that "I still had the passion".  After so many years, I'm still a bit raw but I think the ability is there.  I just had to focus.  I met up for lunch with another referee in my group.  He works close by and we talked a few times.  We discussed my future and one thing he said to me was:  "If you're going to officiate, you might as well work on improving.  Treading water actually means you will just get worse".

It was after that time that I made a decision.  I was going to give officiating another shot.  But I wasn't going to "just officiate".  I wanted to put some time into getting better.  Interestingly enough, I think my plan is working.  I haven't done anything magical.  I just tried some different things and talked to folks after games to get feedback.  I'm not perfect.  No one is.  But I think I've grown in the past few months and I really haven't worked all that much.

While my time officiating may be tough next year (still have to contend with work a bit), I am going to enjoy as much of it as I can.  I'm solely focused on improving myself and not worried about the quality of the games.  That will take care of itself.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cutting The "Rope" Short

It's been a while but getting back into blogging a bit.  Thanks to a discussion I was having with someone, I was inspired to write this post.

Late in the high school season, I was available and picked up a couple of high school games for a fellow referee who had to turn them back.  The first game was not easy but fun and went off relatively smoothly.

The second one was probably the most difficult one I had to deal with in years.  Considering how little I worked this season, I was happy to work a few games.  However, I was not expecting the situation I went into.

Essentially, one of the coaches (home team) was a known complainer.  My partner and I knew each other and I thought we had a good handle on the game.  However, the game was a tough one with a lot of physical play and the home team coach was complaining.  Unfortunately, I personally didn't take care of business and issue a technical which could have mitigated some of the craziness that came later.

Because I didn't, the fans (300 to 500 of them) were booing us and we had to deal with a very negative atmosphere for the rest of the game.  There is a lot more I could talk about but my partner and I agreed things could have gone better.

What I learned from the game is that I need to "shorten" up my rope.  I tend to be low key and let people do their thing with the hope they straighten themselves out.   However, since the game, I have noticed my rope has shortened in both officiating and other things I work with.  If I sense things are not going the way I want to, I take quick action.

Overall, the game in question was tough but it was a good learning experience. :)