If there are no players, or not enough, we do not have a game to officiate. Plain and simple. The game is not about us as officials, it is for the players. Thankfully, sometimes we have a player step up to play an extra game and make things work.
Waldwick, NJ - On Sunday there were three boys games to be officiated at Hoop Heaven in this Northern Bergen County, NJ town.
Game three saw one team with four players warming up for a seventh grade contest. The coach, a young lady who played at Montclair State, was short a fifth starter. She noticed a seventh grade girl who watched the previous game with her dad. The girl was dressed to play probably having practiced earlier that morning. She was 'recruited' and eager to play.
"You are playing that young lady?" I asked the coach.
"Yes," the coach replied, asking if it was a problem.
Not at all I said adding that since we had a girl playing I would have to get out the pink whistle. The coach saw the whistle and breast cancer awareness insignia.
"That is such a nice gesture, thank you," the coach said.
We had a nice game. The team with five hung around a bit but the opposition had depth, size and got out in transition. The 'iron' five went down to double digit defeat. The young lady in the game scored eight points. She buried two treys and had a few nice assists from her guard spot. Not afraid to be aggressive, she was even called for a reaching foul by your official/author.
Post game, I wanted to talk to her and her dad but they were soon gone. The only thing I know is she played for St. John's grade school in Hillsdale, NJ, a school that has sent some talented girls to powerful Pascack Valley High School in the same town.
Again, I was appreciative and sincerely say thank you to the seventh grade girl for stepping up and taking the challenge to play in a boys game. Without her we do not have enough to play and there would not be a game to officiate.