O Captain My Captain

I have some issues with captains.

It’s been clear to me for some time that I have trouble remembering who the captains are.  It’s a matter of memorizing a series of numbers, and I just don’t do that well. In varsity games, I then try to say “captain…” to the captain as he/she runs by me for a fist bump in pregame introductions, but I never remember all two or three of the captains who run by.

So I am trying to focus on remembering one.

Some crew chiefs (including, sometimes, me) ask for a “speaking captain.”  I’ve never much liked that, since I will talk to any player who talks to me politely.  But I may revert to that because it will give me one person to seek out and only one number to memorize.  Do I tell the players “Hey, this is the person I’ll be looking for–you may have to seek me out otherwise”? Or do I just keep it secret in my head?

This could have come in handy the other night: a non-captain had been T’d up late in the game, and was in danger of saying something stupid to me (she wasn’t upset, just saying things). This would have been an ideal time to say to the captain “Hey, captain–can you get this kid away from me and keep her out of trouble?”  But to do that, I need to remember the captains.

Maybe I start doing that tomorrow.


Half a season, coming right up…

The leaves have fallen off of the trees, I’m off for a week to dramatically overeat…what does that mean?

Basketball season is upon us!  And it’s time to ref, bay-bee.

This year will be a bit unusual, in that I’m only going to be doing about half a year: my wife will have afternoon and evening commitments for the entire 2017 calendar year, and I will therefore be watching my children instead of reffing other people’s children.  That said, I am remaining active in the association (will go to meetings, will answer the many Rules Guy questions thrown my way, may try to watch a game or two with my kiddoes).  But it’s only half a season.

I will try to maintain my goals of being a good crew chief, not getting beat so often (I flat-out need to run faster all the time), and not calling across the key as lead.  But I will do so for about 12-15 games instead of my usual 40-50.

And you’ll be here for all the action!  (Feel free to fire me off an email at the above address if you want to read the password-protected game logs.)

Protected: This also happened tonight…

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My children are doomed.

I took my sons, 5 and 3, to the park today. They started playing basketball, which entailed them chucking pine cones at the hoop. One of them didn’t quite make it in, and my 5-year-old son told me why.

SON: I think it’s because I shot it from the quicksand.
ME:  What?
SON:  I shot it from the quicksand. The area under the basket where a referee isn’t supposed to stand.
ME: Where did you learn that?
SON:  From the 2013-14 Officials Manual. I’ve been reading it during my naptime.
ME: What’s the quicksand?
SON: It’s the place you’re not supposed to stand because you can’t see.
ME: Do you know anything else about officiating?
SON:  Yeah. You’re not ever supposed to have two trails.
ME:  What?
SON:  Two trails is prohibited.
ME: Do you know why?
SON: Because they won’t know which is which.

Yes, this really happened. And my three-year-old son, who plays our family hallway soccer games with playing cards in his pocket so he can yellow- or red-card his brother and me, kept insisting on me running from referee position to referee position on the basketball court today, and kept asking me to call fouls on him.

It’s early, but the current trajectory says my kids are on a pace to at least consider becoming sports officials, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Wait. I do know one way I feel about that. Guilty. This video shows why.

Social Challenge: The Hospitality Room

I didn’t even know that the Hospitality Room existed, but partner pointed it out after tonight’s tournament game.  We headed out there.  He stopped to say hi to his wife and said he’d meet me there.  So I ventured out there alone.

When I got there, I found the coaches for the losing team sitting there.

I did not want to be there.  The coaches were not angry and were a class act, but I just don’t like kibitzing with coaches.  Feels weird.

I grabbed some chips and salsa, some crackers and cheese, a Dr Pepper, and went out to the hallway and ate them on my own.

Partners arrived shortly thereafter and we headed into the room.  Once there, we had pleasant conversation with the coaches.

“Where do you play next?”  “Yeah, you’d won the games I had you earlier this year.”  “Sorry we missed the ball hitting the cord above the backboard–we should have gotten that.”

But it still felt weird, since I could have these guys again sometime.  Maybe I’m just weird since nobody else seemed to care or mind, but I’d rather have gone elsewhere.

The Ref at home

One year ago, when I would leave for games, my son (then 2) would say the following:

“Daddy, please don’t go to West High School.  Please stay home with me.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little Boy Blue and the man on the moon…

A little later that season, his perspective changed.

“Daddy, I”m going to come ref the game at West High School WITH you.”

I viewed that as progress.  Still later came this:

“Daddy, you’re reffing at West High School?  I’m reffing at Washington High School.”

Awesome!  And still more progress.

This year, now that he’s three, he takes my departures pretty well in stride.  He just wants to know the nicknames of the teams.


A friend of mine, Jack Bogdanski, does an annual Buck-A-Hit day for charity.  It’s today.  If you click on the link below, he’ll give a dollar to charity, up to $5K, with some matching donations that could take the day up over $10K.  So I figured I’d send my two or three readers that way.

Here’s the link.  Go there.  He’s a good guy–he hasn’t whined about sports officiating in at least a year and a half now (a new record)!  Plus you get to help out some charities.