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Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and Sadly, The Ugly

The Good: Last night our high school basketball team was playing the in consolation side of the Area Tournament....a game that, if won, would send our team into the State Championship playoffs next week. The team was excited!  The fans were excited!  The opponent team and fans were excited!  It was a great atmosphere, with lots of visitors and past Tipton alumni in attendance - ready to watch the Tigers try to do something that hadn't been done in many, many, many years.

The team we were playing had dealt our first loss just the previous week.  Our boys were ready to show their stuff.

The Bad:  Unfortunately, many of our shots were just not going in.  Usually, even if one or two of the boys are "off", the others pick up the slack.  Last night, all of them made some, but no one was really "hot".  Foul trouble got the best of us a few times and turnovers plagued at times.  I'm not sure that we ever had the lead during the entire four quarters ( I could be wrong) , but at the very last second, something good happened:

The Good (again): Our point guard, who typically doesn't shoot a lot, drove in for a shot, which was kind of like a lay-up looking, jump shot at the top edge of the three point line. IT WENT IN!  The crowd jumped up and screamed (our side, anyway :)!  This shot tied the game, put us into a four-minute overtime, and almost made me have a heart attack! (not really, but it felt like it for a few seconds.)  It was unbelievable!  Something we'll never forget.

The Bad (again):  We got on top and ahead quickly into the overtime, but the opposing team caught up.  It went back and forth and back and forth.  Both teams fouled and both teams turned the ball over.  We ended up losing the game by four points.

The Ugly:  This is the hardest part to write.  Harder than the loss itself, because this part gets personal.  But, it is a part that I feel needs to be admitted and addressed.  The ugly was bad sportsmanship.  It wasn't just during this final game, but especially during this final game.  In a playoff or tournament championship game, spirits are high and emotions are often out of control.  It's easy to say things without thinking.  I've been guilty myself.

Last night I saw and heard some very, very unsportsmanlike conduct from our fans and players.  So much so that one of my children, who happened to be sitting by me close down by the opponents bench, got up and left to sit by his dad (my husband) up high.....to be out of that yelling and name-calling.  It was bad.  It was embarrassing.  At one point I turned and said out loud "Be quiet!".  I shouldn't have said that, I admit, but of course the fan didn't hear it.....because they were yelling at the refs.

One of the saddest things I saw about sportsmanship was a few weeks ago on Facebook.  It was another close game, and again, some were complaining about the poor officiating and the fact that we lost.  Someone, who apparently lived here years ago made this statement, "Well, I see Tipton hasn't changed.  Still blaming the refs when they lose."  Wow.  That is really, really a sad statement to have said about your town and your fans......a town I love and people I love......and where my children are being raised.

Are officials sometimes bad?  Absolutely!  Sometimes they mess up and some times they mess up big.  But, most of the time.....if/when they are bad.....it's equal on both sides (bad for both teams).  Sometimes it is one-sided, or it seems to be one-sided.  But, you know what?  A call is a call and you and I yelling isn't going to change it.  It only makes us look bad, and makes us look bad to everyone around us.....to the other fans.....to our children.....to our friends, etc.  Another thing to remember is that if you and I were officiating, we would be yelled at, too....for missing things.  Fans are looking from a distance and often-times, from way above.  Refs are right by things and looking at what is right in front of them.  They may not see what we see from up above.  It doesn't seem to make sense some times, but if we were in their shoes, it just might.

So what can we do, as fans??  If we feel we've been wronged by the officiating, instead of yelling it from the stands, write a letter to the headquarters (in Oklahoma it's OSSAA.com).  Say what you think, but do it respectively.  Don't name-call.  Don't demean.  Just point out facts.  Not opinion.  Be objective.  Realize that, YES, your child CAN make a mistake.  It is really possible that YOUR child messed up on his/her own.  It is not always someone else's fault.  It does not always have to be blamed on someone else. (Yes, I'm on a rant right now! I have another rant about team discipline and champion attitudes, but I'll spare you....for now :).

My husband has great advice when it comes to this:  He says, "Unless a team makes every shot, every free shot, never fouls (legitimate fouls, of course :), and never turns the ball over, it can NEVER, NEVER be blamed on an official."  That's pretty wise right there, isn't it?


3 comments:

Wa Wa Waughs said...

Good advice. From a wife of an official for many years, I totally agree!

Joe said...

I remember the games when I was in High School, you had your group of dads who would occasionally shout out at the refs, "Lousy call!". These days it's a lot worse because you have parents with so much pride at stake; they don't even care if there's young children around, they really let loose, sometimes to the point of charging a ref on the court or field. What an example for the kids; such insanity at times :(

Lori said...

I should ask D about his officiating days. He would have some good insight, I'm sure. Even when Joe refs for elementary games fans get upset with him. It's really hard to sit right there listening to them talk about him!! (I never let on that I'm the wife during those times, either. They would probably feel bad then.).

Joe - Insanity is a great, but sad description of what has become common in the sports' world for children.

 
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