Sunday, December 3, 2017

Varsity Blues

Couldn't think of any better title for the blog tonight.  It doesn't mean anything besides the fact that I officiated a couple of varsity boys basketball games today for a tournament (7th / 8th place & 5th / 6th place games).

This will be brief as it's late.  The games I worked were not the best games ever played.  All the teams had their share of weaknesses and they were not the most skilled, athletic or talented.  But they all played hard and my partner and I had to work the games appropriately.

The interesting situations that came up today were enforcing the coaching box.  My partner gave a warning to one of the coaches in the second game.  Later on the same coach approached me (outside of his box) to ask or inquire about something.  Post game, my partner thought I should have given the coach a technical for being out of the box.  I understood my partner's rationale but since the coach wasn't super vocal, I "let it slide".  That is an interesting situation i have to think about though.

Otherwise, the games were fun to work.  My partner is good and even though I was the designated "R", he pretty much dictated things.  It's something I have to work on as sometimes I am not 100% sure what to say to someone who is a top official.  It's a known weakness for me.

In any case, I may write more about my games later but this is enough for now.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bringing Focus And Intensity To Your Games

If you talk to a lot of high level, veteran high school basketball officials, they always say that you have to treat every game equally.  It doesn't matter if you're working a game between two top teams at the varsity level or two weaker teams at the freshman level, you should come into the games with the mental attitude that you're going to treat the games the same.

Have I done this?  I'd like to say I have in the past.  But tonight I could sense that something has changed in me in the past 6 months to a year when it comes to officiating.

I had a triple header today.  I was working a JV girls preseason game at 4 PM followed by two JV boys tournament games at a different gym at 6:30 PM and 8 PM.

I got to the gym early for the girls game and my partner was there as well.  We caught up and observed the two teams as they warmed up and practiced.  I could see the girls weren't that experienced or skilled.  I told my partner this could be a low scoring game and i was proven correct  The final score was 11-10.

Early on, I was flying around the gym just because I'm in shape from playing and officiating hoops the past few weeks.   But it wasn't needed.  Neither team could really get up and down the court particularly fast.  When they did, the girls weren't really finishing.  I had to dial things down a bit and I admittedly cruised through the game a bit.  The game finished in about an hour.   There wasn't a lot of learning going on in this game besides one call in which two players (one from each team) tied the ball as just the shot clock expired.  This doesn't happened regularly but my partner said he though a shot clock violation on the offensive team would be the right call and I agreed after thinking about it.

After the girls game, I went over to the other gym for the two boys games.  I was working with a semi new partner (only 2nd year officiating high school basketball).  Both games were in the championship bracket of the tournament so the intensity level was high.  Both games ended up being closely contested affairs would a lot of action and drama.

These two games taught me a few things.  Something in me has changed.  I saw some physical and silly plays from a the post players which I called out right away and told the players to knock it off.  I ended up two technical fouls.  One was to a player who obviously hacked a guy yet moaned about it and slammed the basketball after I called the foul.  The other was to a coach (second game) who wouldn't stop complaining about travels.  I probably could have issued a warning but just the technical instead.

I commented on FB a few minutes ago that my voice was hoarse when I called my earlier.  That is a rare thing for me.  I remember some old observers / evaluators telling me to "use my voice" back in the day.  Well, I guess I took their advice a few years later!

Been a long day and it's late.  Need to get some sleep and get ready for two varsity boys games tomorrow.  That should be an interesting affair.   If anything interesting comes up, I will be posting about it.