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Clowning Around

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Quote of the Day: “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”

- Charles Austin Beard

As long as there have been kids and parents, there has been the debate about spanking.

But I don’t think anyone could fault me for the following sentence: my daughter’s basketball team got spanked once again.

I won’t assign blame because it is a team so a loss is a team loss just like a win is a team win.

But I WILL bitch about the refs. Not that I would ever want to do what they do because they are almost universally hated. Some of them take it in stride and then some of them, well, seem to feed on this and take on an omnipotent self-image.

As the announcer, I have to stay neutral and call the game fairly. This becomes more difficult when my daughter is actually playing but I manage.

What tends to irk me though is this attitude coming from some of the refs. Yes, you are in charge but you don’t have to act like, well, God.

Maybe this is just a reaction to my deep seated rebellion against authority which is strange since I spent 22 years in the Marine Corps, more than half of it an Officer.

Probably, but the conversation I had with one of the refs before the game didn’t help matters.

They have different refs for the JV game, which is played first, and the varsity game. Normally the refs for the second game show up in time to see some of the JV game and this is what happened tonight.

Before each game, I go to the refs and get their names because announcing there names is part of the script I read in the introductions.

When I talked to the ref tonight, he pulled me aside and asked me for a favor.

This is not good because when a ref “asks you for a favor” it’s usually an attempt to politely assert some authority over you. As you can imagine, he couldn’t have known who he was dealing with.

He said he noticed I had done a lot of announcing while the players had the ball and asked if I could minimize that.

Now first of all, the JV girls never get the benefit of an announcer since most schools only do that for the varsity teams. I do it because I enjoy it, my daughter’s on the JV team, and the JV girls get their game treated like a “big game” instead of just feeling like they are allowed to play before the varsity team.

Second, I do my best to make it sound like a professional game, calling names of players coming in and out, calling names of shooters, etc. I think it means a lot to the girls and the parents to hear the names.

I also try to summarize the score and time remaining between plays so I can keep everyone up to speed on the game situation without interrupting the game. My goal is to keep the announcements within the confines of “between plays.”

And I think I do a pretty damn good job at doing this.

His specific “request” is that I don’t announce while the ball is in play.

While the ball is in play? You mean you want me to identify the player number, look up her name, and call out her name all in the time it takes you to recover the ball and have the opposing player throw it in?

Not to mention trying to squeeze the score in or the time left in the quarter.

Have you ever HEARD a game being announced?

Normally I try to get my announcing done before they get to mid-court so it doesn’t interfere in too much of the offense (unless they are full-court pressing when I try to scale it back a little more).

So you can imagine I was both a little amazed and upset that I was having my announcing curtailed. I could see if I was being obnoxious or blatantly for one team or the other. But I was innocent on both accounts and the result was that the girls would have their game announcements all but neutered.

I guess I just will never understand some people. It’s a shame when those in charge can ruin something so potentially good for the sake of exercising a little power.

I will add power-hungry refs to my list of offending personalities. They aren’t all that way and some I really respect. But others… (see graphic at top of this post)

Free Advice for Today: “Pay attention to pictures of missing children.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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