Protected: Game Log for camp days 3 and 4 (7-7 and 7-8-14)

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Camp log day 2 (7-6-14): Blissful day, blissful day

Two games today, and both were just fantastic.  Clinicians were exceedingly complimentary.  Clinicians gave nice, targeted advice for how I can improve, but it was embedded in damn-near-effusive compliments (one called our game “nails,” which was a term for “fabulous” that I have never heard before).


First game was smooth: nice partners.  After yesterday’s tongue-lashing for reaching out of my area, I was very, very careful not to do that today; and I didn’t.  There were two slip-ups: I tooted my partner’s sideline after I had refereed a play deep in the corner as lead (forgivable, but still shouldn’t happen) and I tossed the ball to a free-throw shooter as a partner brought in subs.  (The latter was stupid and out-of-character).  But I also delayed halftime because I saw there should be two seconds left–got major game-management kudos for that.

Second game was also really good.  In some ways it was more challenging because I was probably the most experienced crew member, and these teams were challenging in that they pressed a lot.  But we called the early hand-checks and arm-bars, as both NCAA and NFHS want us to do, and they were simply removed from the game: flat-out gone.  Then the players ran a lot, and the game was quite close.  Partner had a huge player-control foul call with two minutes left, and the game was no sweat from there.  Only suggestion I got was that I need to take my eyes away from the ball in the corner when I am Trail, which is a difference between high school and college, so I can live with that error.  Also, I missed when the White coach asked for time-outs a couple of times: I’ll try to tune into that as well.

Main thing to work on:  keep my signals short and high.  I had two different clinicians tell me that today: one in the first game, and the other after looking at video of one of yesterday’s games.  I need to come up with a way to just practice doing signals every day between now and Thanksgiving.  I bet my kids would like it if I called a few fouls on them every day.  Violations too.

I actually came home totally elated.  Tough games that went well.  I was harder on myself than the clinicians were, which leads me to wonder if I should be less hard on myself in general.  Make no mistake:  an honest self-assessment is what makes me better, so I don’t want to give that up.  But when I’m saying “gee, I think I got a little ball-watchy when the going got tough” and the clinician is saying “You all were nails!  Nails!  This game was nails!  Those last few minutes were nails!” then maybe I’m too hard on myself and need to chill.  (Yeah, get in line suggesting I do that.  You’ll be well behind my wife…)

But it was an awesome day: one of those that I need to bank and remember when the bad ones inevitably come.  It was a why-I-do-this day.

THINGS I DID WELL:  Stayed in my area consistently, clock awareness
THINGS TO WORK ON:  Short, crisp, high signals on fouls, slow down at spot, resist temptation to ball-watch when the pressure is on
NEXT:  Two more tomorrow.

Camp log day 1: 7/5/14

I had two games at camp today.  The quality of basketball was every bit as good as I remembered (I will never forget encountering Tara VanDerveer at a game a few years ago, and Pat Summit and Geno Auriemma have also visited in the past).  And the games I had went with no real negatives.  Here’s what I remember, and here’s what the clinicians gave me.

The first game wasn’t a close one: a thirty-point victory.  In the first half, winning coach didn’t like a call I had that was on his girl.  “This is supposed to be NCAA Division I level stuff…you can’t call something like that.”  My reply was “She ran up and displaced her, coach.”  If he’d pursued it, I’d have told him that displacement was an NCAA point of emphasis.  Other than that, no issues.  Felt good to feel up to a game that good.

Clinician was very helpful as well. She wanted me to do more college mechanics.  “I know you’re a high school official,” she said, “but operating outside your comfort zone will help you with your leadership.”  Fair enough.  She also wanted to talk to me about physicality, and I’ll happily do that with her: rather than discussing my running, she wants to discuss my standing still, indicating that I look intense and twitchy when at “rest.”  I think it might be easier to work on standing still than on changing my running style, so I’m on that.

Second game felt good too.  No issues with players or coaches.  Clinician was another matter.

He intensely (but not rudely) upbraided our crew for calling in each other’s area.  I remember one or two instances where I did, but didn’t see it as a big problem.  Interestingly, he said the game itself was called well, but as a crew, we were not together and didn’t trust each other.  I didn’t feel that it was a matter of trust: I think I tend to get too intense and don’t let enough time pass.  But I have a video of that game on a memory stick right now and will watch some of the game before I go to bed to see if there are other patterns to where I reach and poach.   This is something to look into, especially should it be repeated (but it is my plan to have it NOT be repeated).

So, for the whole day:

THINGS I DID WELL:  Call selection, coach management
THINGS TO WORK ON:  Reaching/poaching, physicality when still, college mechanics

Next up:  Classes in the morning, two games in the afternoon tomorrow.

Ref camp

starts tomorrow morning.

I’ll be reffing some really great matchups with some solid college officials looking over my shoulder.  And I will listen to everything they say.

I went to this camp way back in 2000.  I learned a lot then, but in retrospect, I had no idea what I was doing.  I now feel like I have better confidence and skill and can handle the high-level play (loads of college coaches will be watching this tournament) far better than I did fourteen years ago.

My goals for the week are to learn something about poise and leadership.  Keep looking here:  I’ll be posting nightly about my games (I’ll have one or two per day) and my progress.

Summer officiating goings-on

It has been a quiet summer in officiating.  Only one major kefuffle, and that involved the opening match of the World Cup, where Brazilian striker Fred went down in the box after the Croatian defender put a hand on him.  With one look at full speed from referee Yuichi Nishimura’s angle, I can understand a penalty.  Unfortunately, Nishimura didn’t have the multiple looks in slow motion and multiple angles that showed Fred diving.  It was what one mentor of mine calls a “fool-the-referee play”, and it worked.  While others grab their pitchforks and torches, I always–every single time–feel sympathy for the official.  As I see it, the only question that matters as far as those critcizing Nishimura goes is this:  did they have a no-call with one look at full speed?

Which brings me to diving.  It seems the issue of diving is similar in my sport of basketball as it is in soccer, except that in soccer the reward for a fool-the-referee play can be even greater.  That said, as players get more skilled at diving (and I think high school basketball players are) and as there are more video angles to create referee excoriation if they are fooled (Nishimura certainly was victimized by this, but even I can be victimized by a Youtube video), that there has to be a strong anti-diving push at all levels.  And it seems obvious how this must happen.

After any game/match, if the video review shows an obvious flop, that player misses the next game.  Period.  The NBA is starting on this with fines, but I’d say stiffer penalties will clean up the game more quickly.

Meanwhile, baseball has added replay.  After that early-season weirdness about the transfer rule, things have settled down a bit.  Until we had this play, which is fascinating in its ramifications for replay.

I’m not sure what the umpires have the power to do.  I’ll take crew chief Bill Miller’s word that they could only go on what happened on the field, in which case he and the replay umprie in New York did the only thing they could do…call Kawasaki out and then count the run.  John Gibbons’ challenge was legitimate as well.

But I’d argue that Melvin’s protest (which turned out to be nothing, since the A’s won the game)  was incredibly important, and I hope MLB does something to clarify the rule.

The issue is this:  The A’s catcher, Stephen Vogt, did exactly what he was supposed to do after Vic Carapazza gave his “safe” signal.  He has to act based on that assumption.  If Carapazza had signalled “out,” then I’m 100% sure that Vogt would have tagged the runner, and we’d have had a double play.  For that reason, it seems to me that if we are going to review that play, we have to call it a double play.

And this is where replay, which I typically suppport, turns problematic.  Umpires are left in a position of determining what -would have happened next- if the call had been made correctly.  And this play, made on a larger stage, might make all sorts of deeper ramifications.  The league office had better come up with some guidelines before the pennant race gets too deep.

I think those guidelines might include reasonable guesses as to what the players would have done had the call been made correctly.  While it’s possible Edwin Encarnacion might have put on the breaks and returned to third in that situation, it’s an infinitessimal chance.  And while it’s also possible that Vogt misses Carapazza’s out call and fails to make the tag, I sort of doubt that too.

So, while I don’t like any possibility here, I think that if you’re going to make that kind of play reviewable, you will have to attempt to reconstruct the rest.