Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 230 - Today, You Are Just a Fan

Here comes the judge, here comes the judge.  Ever hear that melody?  It reminds me to date of the time we were in the middle of the court and both teams were in their time out huddles in front of their benches and a man got off the bench and just walked on to our court and wanted to talk to us IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME!  We asked him to sit down and we would talk to him after the end of the half.  He refused to leave and went on to start yelling at how we were officiating the game and said, "Do you know who I am? I'm a judge in the blah blah circuit court of Miami!"  As we summoned security to come remove him, we thought, "Not today sir, you're not a judge, you are a fan."

Would he want me to come in to his courtroom and tell him how unfair he was and ask him, "Do you know who I am?  I'm a NCAA basketball referee!"  No, he would say, today you are a prisoner because I'm having the bailiff lead you to get your new orange or black and white striped suit depending on what state you live in! I know that nobody's behavior should shock me anymore after what I have witnessed but it still does.

In another game, a man sitting in the front row of the bench across from the center line, yelled at me, "I will meet you in the parking lot after the game!" in such a manner to be threatening.  My husband had come with me to that game and overheard his threat.  So he walked down to the guy from the top of the bleachers and stood beside him and told him, "If you want to meet her, you have to meet me first.  Now is there anything more you would like to discuss before I take you outside and kick your ass?"  That story always makes me laugh.

My kids had to sit and listen to fans yell at me.  It was in my opinion the biggest reason why they stopped wanting to come with me to games.  They were bored and although liked watching the game, the fans beside them didn't know the rules and didn't realize they were yelling and threatening the life of their mother!  Fans, note, this should be a lesson, you never know who's sitting beside you!

My last regional semi-final game for high school had a similar moment of outrageous entitlement by a fan.  During the game, it was evident that the teams didn't like each other and as soon as the first flagrant foul occurred, I gave the girl a technical.  Then the coach went ballistic and my partner gave the coach a technical.  At halftime we discussed what would happen and the protocol to follow if this team, the home team, lost and the coach was ejected because we didn't have security.  The schools are required to give us private rooms to dress, showers to clean up after the game and security.  None of these were provided.  We already knew we should be ready for trouble.  We asked another referee who came to watch, to move our car near the back entrance.

In the third quarter, the coach was standing.  We had already informed him of the rule that after the first technical in a high school game, a coach looses his/her coaching box privileges and must sit for the remainder of games except for time outs.  My partner warned him (he didn't HAVE to be a nice guy and do this) and then after the coach wouldn't comply, my partner gave him his second technical and ejected him.  He refused to leave.  We looked for the AD [Athletic Director] who had finally made himself know to us and he tried to get the coach to leave.  The game was stopped until "the coach leaves the confines of the playing area."  A man again came onto the court and wanted to ask us questions during THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME!.  When I asked the AD to remove him from the court as well, the man yelled, "I only wanted to ask you a couple of questions.  Do you know who I am?  I am the Superintendent of the schools."  My reply was, "Sir, Do you know who I am?  I'm the referee in this game and my job is to keep order in this contest and I can't have you out here on this court in the middle of a game.  Today you are just a fan. I am asking you kindly one more time to leave or I will have you removed."  To which he had to be escorted away.

The team lost and complained to the state.  I followed protocol BY THE RULE.  The coach lied about his behavior by denying he wouldn't leave when notified.  The state asked me the facts again and I told the state to ask for the video tape as I saw the video recorder and the coach even told me before the game he was taping the game.  He lied to the state and told the state that he didn't have a tape of the game. He then threatened us after the game and didn't know we had parked at the back entrance and was waiting for us to exit.  We were gone before he could find out our exit strategy.  (We didn't have the ability to take showers so we were gone in less than thirty seconds.) I was then punished by the state and wasn't selected to move onto the state final.  I know many veteran officials who are REALLY REALLY GOOD and the FHSAA has erroneously punished an official for following the rules.  The most frustrating thing in high school and sometimes in college officiating is when the Assignors do not support their officials when they are right.  It is simply the right thing to do.  And they wonder why nobody wants to become an official, because it is easier to excuse the outrageous behavior of a fan than to support the hard decisions that have to be made by an official.





Principles only mean if you stick to them when it is inconvenient.

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