Rec League Referee Diary: Verse 2

Current Ref Level: Bennett Salvatore

Now some (re: MANY) ball fans feel know that B-Salz is pretty much the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality in reffin’. I feel compelled to compare myself to him because the other night was my first start at refereeing a rec league game. Thank the gods that it was an exhibition game…I’ll explain why after the jump.

For those unfamiliar with this whole joint and wondering why there’s such thing as a Ref Diary—REC-league Ref Diary no less, the answers you are looking for are here.

This time being my first try at doing an actual game, there was a hint, nay, bombardment of excitement in being a holder of the “whistle”. Rec league organizer (RLO) is constantly reminding us that “we control the court” and “everyone should listen to us”. This could make me drunk with power…

Okay, down to the dirty dirty. Game 1, I’m in. My refereeing partner is this geeky looking kid (stereotypically speaking of course) and my train of thought is expectedly: “He will probably make a total of negative 6 calls, oh shit, I’m screwed” Hurray though, as RLO gets a seasoned ref from last year to shadow our calls. Coolies!

Referee partner asks that I do the tipoff…so it starts… Holding the ball for the toss up, I can’t wonder what would be everyone’s reaction if I just took the ball and straight up ran out of the gym. Hmm. Fun times.

The action starts, y’know, typical rec competition so I’m reluctant to make tight ticky-tack calls (THAT, my friends would be a big mistake). As a fellow rec baller from time to time, I’m used to all the things that aren’t called because well—there’s no refs. I apply that attitude for the rest of this game.

I make the first call (yay!) of the ball going out of bounds. That felt good. Problem is.. I don’t make any other type of calls, no fouls, for the rest of the half. RLO tells me: “20 minute half without a foul shot? Not possible” Damn, I have to get that “no blood no foul” mentality out this if I have to do well.

2nd half: Worse. I saw players bodying up very physically and lots of contact everywhere but was hoping my non-existent partner to do something. The shadowing ref ain’t bailing me out…oh boy, players looking pissed. Okay, I kick that shy attitude to the curb and finally call a foul as someone went for a layup.

“Dude, I didn’t touch him, you anticipated the contact” said the 195-210 pound 6’3″ beefy player in the general vicinity of, let’s say, me.

“OH WHAT? You wanna throw down? HUH??” said, in his head, very quietly, the 5’9″ not that big, or muscular kid (aka ME!) What I really did was ignore it, but yeah, he’s right. Damn it’s hard.

So yadayada, it was a blowout by one of the teams but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been a bit more competitive had we made more foul calls because there were definitely tons of contact. RLO agrees and just plainly says, you have to call it, don’t be afraid, they’ll respect you more for it if you make more calls than you don’t”

Sniff, thanks Coach Carter. I’ll keep that in mind for next week.


  1. Great feature but it left me wanting more. Maybe write a bit more and include more details next time? Please?

  2. And I was thinking that was waaay too much writing, not everyone is a Henry Abbott or a Skeets (any newbies not getting it.. well.. you should still be able to get it)

    But Lucas, big ups for the encouragement, as this will be a weekly CHRONIC!cle and for sure I’ll oversee more games so more details and of course, more TYPOS (oh the embarrasement..)

  3. JustAnotherRef


    I’m currently a college ref, but we all started exactly like you did. Same nerves, same missed calls, same anticipated calls. Have some fun with it, and don’t worry if your nerdy partner is going to make a call. He’s more scared than you are. See the play, make a judgment (not just a reaction), blow the whistle. Good luck with the rest of your season.

  4. -JustAnotherRef, thanks for the response! Yeah, I’m just trying to have fun with it seeing as I’ve always thought about reffin but never did…mainly because I was on the playing side heh.

    But definitely I’m sticking wit it, it’s kinda fun. If anything this serves as a good writing exercise. Word.

  5. mick

    Good chuckles.
    Sounds like some of my first games.
    Hang in and hold on!

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