Roseland, NJ - The recreation level can be very rudimentary, in its kindest terms. The kids are learning and if they concentrate on that part of the game and enjoy being out there, it becomes an enjoyable officiating experience.
On this Friday night single game, I am working with a new official, Mike, who has two games total experience. We go over a few things pre-game to get prepared. He appears relaxed which is good. The gym is the auxiliary at a middle school but it spacious, well lit and heated. And this is the ‘not for prime time facility'? Obviously, I am not in Jersey City where the ball is good but heat is a luxury and lighting a hit or miss depending where you work.
We have a game between a team in Bank of America shirts and the Shock. It is a 7-8th grade girls game and rec has its own rules. Running clock first and third quarters, stop all whistles second and fourth. No double team but you can press the fourth quarter.
From the outset the B of A team is better. They have two girls that can put it on the floor and go to the basket. A big plus on this level. The Shock get some good shots but every attempt is off balance or a fallaway. It is 14-2 B of A entering the final quarter.
The Shock enter the fourth quarter in a press. They quickly score twice to cut it to 14-8. After a time out B of A comes out more organized and gets the ball in the hands of the young ladies who were previously alluded to. They break the press, get a few easy hoops and were no longer challenged. The final is 20-10 in B of A's favor. Amazing move, we have a dead ball with a 20-10 score and the Shock on the short end of the margin with .1 second left. Yes that is one tenth of a second. They come out in a full court press. Welcome to rec.
During time outs I went over a few things with Mike. Such as positioning on in bounds, mechanics (signals) and establishing eye contact with your partner before in bounding the ball. Overall, he did a nice job showing good judgment and hustle. That last point is crucial as we all make mistakes but staying with the game and working hard should never be missing from what you do.
During a few time outs from a distance I noticed he was speaking with a Shock assistant. I asked Mike after the game if he knew him. "No," Mike said. He went on to say the assistant questioned the double teaming when B of A pressed the fourth quarter. Now the rules do not say it must be a man to man press and virtually any full court press is designed to trap and double a ballhandler given the opportunity.
"He (the coach) said he is a lawyer, knows all the rules and runs the league," Mike said.
What a trifecta of horror. A lawyer (nothing against them per se - I have friends and family in the law who are great people), an administrator and chatty assistant. Told Mike he handled everything well, not losing any cool but explaining things rationally. Could only think what one of my Jersey City fellow officials, whom I love working with as well, would say. ‘Coach OUR court is in session, be quiet or be disbarred'.
At any rate, an enjoyable game and told Mike I hope to work with him again soon.