Muppet refs

Speaking of family matters, I was watching a few videos with the boy on the computer today.  He asked to see some videos about the letter O.  Since I know his love of sports, I settled on this video–probably from the latter half of the 1990s.  I noticed that Telly Monster was dressed as a referee.  Why he’s wearing a hat to officiate hoops is beyond me.  And I certainly hope somebody coaches Big Bird to work on his defense, which is abysmal.

But I digress.  Upon seeing Telly dressed as an official, my wife said this:

“Did they have to choose the most neurotic Muppet to be the ref?”

Hadn’t thought of it that way, I must admit.  But what Muppet would be the best basketball official?

Kermit has a strong sense of fairness, but tends to lose control when things go awry.  Ernie is too mischievous.  Bert would absolutely go bonkers–doesn’t have the emotional wherewithal to handle stress.  Elmo is such an idiot that he’s a four-letter word in our house.  Big Bird lacks physical coordination.  Piggy would go violent.  Fozzy would call attention to himself (we’ve all worked with a Fozzy, and it isn’t fun).  I’d have to vote against Animal.

So who?

I’ve got it down to Scooter and Prairie Dawn.  Scooter stays calm under pressure, is likeable, and I think would be trusted.  But Prairie Dawn, while a bit of a neruotic control  freak, does have an interest in fairness and won’t take any crap.

Am I missing anyone?  What do y’all think?


About Paul Hamann
I am a basketball referee in Washington State, working mostly high school games.

3 Responses to Muppet refs

  1. jwrosenzweig says:

    My initial reaction is that your question is a roundabout way of getting us to pick which Muppet most resembles the Paul Hamann we know and love. 🙂 Scooter would certainly be the right Muppet to play Paul Hamann in the the Muppet version of “The Paul Hamann Story”—and is almost certainly, as you rightly note, the right Muppet for the job when called upon to be a wise, calm, serious, focused, centered individual making a call with the game on the line. The only decent candidates I think you left out are Sam the Eagle (too stiff, too blinkered by his preconceptions, yes, perhaps, but definitely has the gravitas needed, and not at all likely to be intimidated by a coach or spectator) and Rowlf (the most honest-Joe-American of the central group of characters, I think — not as excitable as Kermit but with a lot of his innate decency and clearly an ability to focus his passions on a very technical endeavor). Sam and Rowlf are not superior choices to Scooter (or Prairie Dawn) but merit honorable mentions, perhaps. Alas, my most beloved Muppets (Gonzo, Camilla the Chicken, and Statler and Waldorf) can’t qualify, though I think if Camilla wasn’t functionally mute she’d have a fighting chance. Thanks for giving me something to ponder. 🙂

    • Paul Hamann says:

      Sam the Eagle! I swear I’ve worked a game or two with him: stoic, unbending, holier-than-thou. I do find it interesting that I picked the Muppet who most resembles me as the best ref.

      I’ve also worked games as the third on a crew with Statler and Waldorf.

      I disagree with your perception of Rowlf, who I think is a little too come-what-may to officiate effectively. And if I ever get an assignment with Camilla, I’m faking an illness that night.

      • jwrosenzweig says:

        Rowlf is, I agree, a worse choice than Scooter, but he’s got to rank above most of the Muppets — a group, though beloved, not known for their attention to detail, rule-following, and composure under pressure. But maybe I see him too rosily. 🙂 Your species-ist attitude towards Camilla is regrettable but forgivable. 😉 And it occurs to me, if Fraggles are allowed into the discussion, that Gobo Fraggle has some of what it takes. I think if he worked on a crew with Scooter for a few months he could develop nicely.

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