Full marks for the Ref
Was at Pasadena on Tuesday night and caught two and a half Grand Finals on court 1.
Saw something I never thought I'd see: a referee who appeared to be interested in the game and who was willing put in the same amount of effort as the players. I’d rate his attitude and performance 10 out of 10. I can’t remember the last time I saw such a good exhibition. He was controlling the men’s Reserve’s game and appeared to realise what players and spectators have always known - that fouls and infringements don’t just happen to the player driving to the basket. He called off-ball infringements including a number in the mid court. To add to my amazement, it was obvious that he only blew his whistle when he actually saw an infringement. When he was unsighted, he didn’t guess; he let the play continue. But there weren’t too many times he was unsighted. He was at least as active as the players, continually changing position so he could see what was happening. Perhaps that was his only game that night, so had enough energy to be active. Regardless, he enforced the rules and communicated with players and the bench. Through all of this he maintained tight control over an important game.
Unfortunately of the 6 refs on court 1 that night, he was the standout. The male referee for the women’s game was good, the other 4 performed at or below the norm. A couple exhibited the standard lethargic, disinterested, smug "I’ll blow my whistle if and when I want to, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it" attitude that we’ve all come to expect. And whoever is teaching referees to determine whether a player is travelling by looking at their heads has a lot to answer for. That might almost work for under 10s, but it certainly doesn’t for older players. There’s nothing that loses respect for referees more than seeing a player twist and turn while maintaining a pivot foot, then hearing a travel call just because their head has moved around.
So, do I take heart that there’s at least one good referee, or do I get depressed because there’s only one?