Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 60 - Angles

We have a saying in officiating, see "through" the play.  This involves getting in a position that allows us to see between the offensive and defensive players that are matched up.  Sometimes the position is just one step to the right, or one step to the left of one step back.  Many times we've been in a position that the play "fell into our laps" and we couldn't see it because we were too close.  The difficultly comes when the game becomes so fast that we have to be able to tell from experience which way to step.  I was having a hard time with this as I couldn't always get the right angle to see the defenders hands.  An experienced official that had worked in the NBA told me if the play is right in front of you, and they are going right, take one step to the left.  It was hard and uncomfortable at first because you wanted to go in the same direction of the play.  But if I did this instinctive move, I found that I was always one step "behind" the play and never able to catch up to see through the play.

People have the incorrect notion that just because an official isn't "close" to the play that they shouldn't make a call.  Sometimes a referee will help his/her partner by making the call from the furthest part of the court from the play because they had the best angle.  I've been saved by many good partners when I am caught on the sideline and the play comes right at me.  Short of sitting in a coach's lap, I can't step back to get the angle.  We call this "being on top of the play."  Because we are so close, we literally can not see what is happening.  That is where a good partner comes in and helps.

As a partner who has seen other good officials fall into this scenario, I too have helped out my partners.  We have a saying in officiating that the hierarchy for officiating basketball is: The integrity of the game first, our partners second and ourselves last.  Many times coaches get so out of hand that the integrity of the game is threatened.  They think it is their "right" to act like an idiot, setting the tone for their players. What they don't realize it is that this is not what Naismith intended as part of the integrity of the game.  In this case, it may make the game better and keep the integrity intact if after one technical the coach is still acting in this manner, to simply give him/her the second one and escort him/her to the locker room.  100% of the time the teams do better without their coach and I have found in my experience if they were losing before he/she left, they end up winning without all the negative vibes from the coach.

I always wondered what a coach thought while he had to wait to hear the outcome of the game from the inside of a locker room.  A different angle always gives a different perspective.  The right thing to do as a coach is ask himself how he got their in the first place, examine other alternatives to that particular type of behavior, and commit to not acting like that again.  Not only is this better for the coach, its better for the players and the spectators. 

If you've ever looked up a tall tree from its trunk, you notice a completely different view.  A good photographer knows this and tries to get these different angles.  Sometimes when we're confused about another person or their behavior or life in general, its good to ask another person about their opinion on the issue.  Many times when I'm stuck on how "bad things are" or how "wrong" another person is, I like to think of an aerial view of the situation.  Imagining the view from up in the sky, is in my opinion, the best angle to see "through" the play.  This way our partners don't have to bail us out because we were on top of the play.

It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle. ~Andre Gide

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