Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 170 - Lower Your Ponytail

I was asked to mentor a younger female official when I joined a second high school association.  Her name is Lauri.  Lauri was a much younger and much smaller version of me.  She had spice and wasn't afraid to take any crap. This probably came from the fact that her dad was a retired military officer and had also been a basketball official for most of her young life.  She'd been around the game and officiating and knew how to decipher bullshit when she saw it.  I liked her quest for knowledge and ability to put what you told her right in her game the next minute she was out on the court.  She was a fast learner.

The assignor sent us out together on many games.  We didn't care where we went or how far we had to drive so this is probably the reason we had to go to a small town called Pierson in the back woods of Florida many times.  We would stay and officiate both the girls and then boys high school varsity games.  The first time we went, the people in the stands were expecting some other officials to come out of the dressing room to do the boys game.  They didn't realize that it was so far out in the woods that not only would most officials not come there just to do one game but they would have had to pay two extra mileage fees for a second crew so we were actually saving them and the tax payers money.

The first boys game we had we knew we were in trouble because it was clear that the boys head coach didn't particularly like "girls" refereeing his "boys" team.  The first mistake was his assumption that we were girls.  We were women second but we were referees first.  We called a technical on one of his kids who fouled a kid during a dead ball.  Usually when the ball goes through the hoop and is laying on the floor is when this rule causes the most trouble.  Most people don't know that the ball is not live until a player from the team ready to throw it in touches it.  So any foul that occurs during this time is considered a dead ball foul and by rule must be administered as a technical foul.  Well it was obvious that the coach didn't know this rule.  He went ballistic and he ended getting a technical foul.

The third time we were assigned to that school, the assignor called us both and rescheduled us to another site.  He stated, "No shit, BJ, he said you two were too good for his team. He didn't want us to come back."  He might have said that but the real reason was he didn't like being "shown up" by women who knew the rules better than he did.  He was THE MAN, THE coach...who basically was teaching kids the rules  which he DIDN'T know. Scary.

Lauri and I always wore our hair in pony tails. I wore my pony tail lower to the bottom of my head.  She wore hers high to the top of her head.  I suggested after this incident that she consider lowering her pony tail as it gives you more credibility.  Young girls wear their pony tails high when they play and when they are kids.  She blew me off.  Lauri blew me off another time when we rode together to a district final game and I parked near the rear exit and backed in for a fast get away.  I have been in many situations where leaving the gym is dangerous. I also have a good friend Stan who served in Desert Storm in Iraq and after officiating twenty years confessed he never thought he was going to make it out alive when two young men from a losing team waited for him to get in his car in the parking lot and held him at gun point after a game.  If the two older spectator men from the winning team hadn't saw this occur and stopped to tell the young men, "Let him go, we don't do that in these parts."  He had served in a war and still was more afraid in that moment than any time during his service in Iraq.

She said, "I don't know why you do that.  I think you are just being paranoid."  Like I said, she was young.  She hadn't officiated the 2000 games I had at that point in my career.  I have been had to run out of gyms with players mother's following me, screaming at me, throwing things at me, only to get in my car and realize that the away bus has boxed my car in.  That time, I drove up on the sidewalk and circled the bus and got the hell out of there.

Lauri and I made it to a state championship game and we drove together.  We arrived early and she watched the game before ours.  That game had an older female official with a high pony tail.  We came in to get dressed and she said, "You're right, I see what you mean.  She didn't look like she knew what she was doing and thus respect wasn't shown to her."  I told her, "I hope you don't have to find out the hard way that the right thing to do is to park close to the exit and back your car in before you believe me about that too." 

Experience is something you get after you needed it. ~Steve Woodsmall

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