Friday, November 13, 2009

Blue, Twenty-three, On the arm, Two Shots

Last Night was my first experience officiating a Provo City League Basketball game. I wrote in a text message after the game to someone, "Had I been an actual cupcake, the crowd and players would have literally eaten me alive, thankfully due to my not being a cupcake, they only did so figuratively." I arrived at Dixon Middle school at 250 N 700 E at six p.m. for a brief pre-game training review. We covered topics like: positioning, making a call, reporting a foul, and other attention-worthy fundamentals. I watched my co-workers officiate 2 games before I finally got my chance to show the basketball world what was right and what was wrong. I went in confident.

All went awry at the tipoff. I was given the "trail official" spot, which means I follow the play and am responsible for the calls above the key and around the arch. But before the game begins, the official makes the toss. I said, "Let's keep the game clean and have some fun" in my best official's voice--thank goodness my voice did not decide to crack at this point. As I went to toss the ball up, I rediscovered how hard it is to toss a ball directly vertical. The players jumped simultaneously up towards the ball, only to discover I had thrown it 3 feet to the left on accident. Mistake 1. I got a couple chuckles from the players and hisses from the stands.

The game proceeded at a quick pace and I often found my proverbial shorts around my ankles every time I wanted to call a foul. I was too slow. After the first possession of the game, the defensive player turned to me after I missed a questionable foul call and yelled, "Yo ref, get yer' eyes in the game. That'sa foul!" I shook my head with authority as my supervisor yelled from the stands, "That's a foul, you've got to call that!"

My favorite point of the game came near the end of the second half. The ball was pushed up court quickly and the offensive player was dribbling when the defensive player stepped in front of him and acted like the offensive player ran into him (a charge for all those who know what that means), but I called a blocking foul on the defensive player. The foul happened right in front of the defensive team's stands. They went into an uproar and I got my first real taste of collective hatred. I reported the foul to the scorekeeper and my supervisor came up to me at a break and said, "That was an awesome call, I thought you would get it wrong and call charging, for sure. Good work."

It's the little things that count.


  1. Yay for calling the right foul! Congrats! Man, I was getting nervous for you just reading the post. Sheesh - I don't think I could ever do that. Seriously - first, I don't have enough knowledge of the game and second, I think I might break down in tears if the crowd all started yelling at me. :(

  2. Yikes! Sounds like quite the adventure. I remember the first time I watched Bryce umpire for baseball. It was stressful, to say the least. Also, I really enjoyed the cupcake metaphor. And I'm totally bummed I missed your call tonight. Hudson changed my ringtone to some robot sound and I had no idea that was my phone ringing. Oh, and to celebrate my birthday, Bryce introduced me to Drag Me to Hell. I actually really liked it. You were right.

  3. I really sucked at it. It sounds like you're doing better, at least