December 16, 2014: I Theatrically Referee A Youth Basketball Game


As some of you may recall, I am a substitute referee who got the call to ref tonight's Holiday Tournament Championship for the 11-12 year-old division. I knew it was going to be a long night when one of the coaches asked if I was going to keep wearing my Oakley once the game began and I explained to him that I had an eye condition (not true) so he would back off. I also warned the coaches and players that I would be calling a much tighter game that what they were used to.

They did not heed my warning. This one little turd pissed me off almost immediately because he would do that stupid thing where he would leave his shooting hand "hanging" after he took a shot. The third time he did it I t-ed his ass up and waved off the three-pointer he just made, and that's when the complaints from the parents and coaches started up. Several requests to "just let the kids play" were met with similar technicals and the ejection of an assistant coach. They also got upset because my double dribble call is just to mock what the kid just did.

Although they only play 7 minute quarters, the game took about two hours to play given the number of fouls and three second calls. The kids continued to hand check even though it was an automatic foul and continued to camp out in the lane. I also ended up calling 15 "carrying" calls in the first half alone before the kids finally got the message that if their hand left the top of the ball, the whistle was blowing. The final carnage was over 50 free throws and half the starters fouled out by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

It actually ended up being a pretty close, exciting game that was tied up with under a minute to go. It was a pretty electric atmosphere and I knew I needed to do something to take the game to another level and put my personal stamp on the game. So when one kid drove to the basket he was pretty clearly blocked by an opposing player but I decided to make a showstopping charge call. I did this move where I put my left hand behind my head and pointed the other way with my right hand three times. With each "point," I would slide forward and blow the whistle. It sent the crowd into a frenzy. The team that was the beneficiary of the charge call came down and scored as the buzzer sounded to win the game. I got so caught up in the moment I joined in their dogpile.

It got a little hairy after that. Several of the parents from the opposing team had to be physically restrained by the security guards to keep from attacking me. A few of them were really pissed off and accusing me of making the game all about myself. I went to high school with a few of them (who, of course, never lettered in a damn thing), so I just pointed to the three stripes on my letter jacket and got the hell out of there while they were being held back.