Sunday, January 30, 2011

Basketball Madness

My life right now is completely submerged in basketball--and I love it. I have two daughters on basketball teams, and I'm running an ongoing basketball tournament for 10 teams of girls through our church. I also play on a team on Wednesday evenings.

I got wind of a comment that was made today by a father to his daughter as they were leaving the game. He told her to be more aggressive and that the level of her aggressiveness would be determined by the officials. He was telling her to do whatever she could do to dominate.

Here we go, I feel a good rant coming on.

I still play basketball as often as I can. When I was introduced to a couple of new players last week they said, "This is Marilyn. She always calls her fouls." We don't play with refs, and I don't mind playing hard, nor do I mind being fouled, but if I feel myself commit a foul I call it.

In our girls program, we call them young women, the refs are volunteers. Most of them don't know as much as they think they do about officiating a basketball game. The most common issues:
  • Blow the whistle loud, don't be afraid of it.
  • Tell the scorekeeper who made the foul and/or what violation was committed.
  • You've got to call the foul quickly or the moment is gone.
  • Figure out how the possession arrow works.
  • A made shot is a live ball (no substitutions).
  • Three seconds, five seconds, ten seconds. Always counting.
  • A foul can be committed without even using the hands.
That said, I'm very grateful for our volunteer refs and I take what I can get. I myself am not such a great ref--not a fun job. I always encourage the girls to play with integrity. If they knocked the ball out of bounds, admit it. If you're called on a foul, take the call. Don't fight with or talk back to the refs. Don't complain about the calls or lack of calls. We're all doing our best.

I was saddened that a father would undermine his daughter's integrity in such a way as to tell her to get away with as much as she can. It goes against how I feel the game should be played both on and off the court. Maybe you could justify it with more experienced refs and I admit that I often up my play according to how my opponents are playing, but nobody likes a dirty player. And that certainly should not exist in this basketball program with young inexperienced players and refs. Teach them integrity on and off the court. To be honest, that's how these girls play naturally and I love it. Here's what I hear on a regular basis:
  • "Oops, I hit it out."
  • "Sorry, did I hurt you?"
  • "Oh, was that a foul? Sorry!"
  • "My bad."
  • "Let me help you up."
They have a lot of fun and help each other. They sometimes cheer when the other team scores (if the scores are vastly uneven.) Please, fathers, please don't take that away from them.

I'm probably overracting, but from where I stand these girls are just out to have a little fun. I'll be talking with them this week about integrity on the court and balancing that with playing hard and having fun.