CAC Referee Etiquette

Originally Posted

Hello Fellow CACers,

My name is Dustin, more commonly known as D-Will or D-Willy.  This is my third full season playing in the CAC and my first as a co-ed scribe.  I’ve quickly become addicted to the drug that’s known as CAC Recreational Basketball.  But I fully enjoy my addiction, it’s second only to drinking adult beverages.  Now that I’ve introduced myself, let’s get to the topic at hand:

CAC Player to Referee Etiquette.

In my short career thus far in the co-ed ranks I’ve yelled at a referee(or 4 or 5 different ones) to complain about a call that was made.  Sometimes I might have been right, most of the time I was probably blatantly wrong but let my competitive side take over.  I know every player is playing in this league because you want to have fun but you also want to win.  I highly doubt anyone who is reading this is okay with losing, it’s just not in the nature of those of us who are “athletes”(I use the term athletes in quotes because after all we are paying to play in a recreational basketball league rather than getting paid to play this sport).  And no one wants a loss to be caused by an official, but no official wants to be the reason that a team wrongfully loses.  However, officials are human and they will make mistakes.  Just as you and I make mistakes on the court, whether it be a bad pass, a missed lay-up, a double dribble, or a travel(in my case all of the above in every game I play).

The reason I bring up this point is that on too many occasions have I seen players take out their frustrations on the official and take it across the line.  I don’t like to speak for others, but those officials who are also players definitely understand when you get frustrated with a call.  And they will be patient with you if you protest the call and state your case.  I know I’ve protested calls in my day and I’m sure many of our officials have done it when they had their CAC jersey on rather than their striped shirts.  But patience only lasts so long, the referees are going to have a line and that line should not be crossed.  You going overboard and protesting a call and getting angry with an official or getting in their face is going to only do bad things for you and your team.  No referee is going to change a call because you yelled at them, the only thing that’s going to happen is you are going to be given a technical foul and your team is going to be hurt.  So rather than just dealing with the call you disagreed with and letting the game play out, you took matters into your own hands and arrogantly put your team in a bad spot.  Accept the bad call, say something about your disagreement in the right context, then move on.  If you have a legitimate concern or reason why you think that the call was not correct.  Approach the official during a timeout or after the game and explain why you think the call was incorrect.  If you do this properly with respect the official will talk it over with you and explain why he or she made the call they did.

Most of these officials know if they’ve screwed up, many of them have come over to the bench I’m sitting at or to me at the scorer’s table and talked a call over with me and admitted they were probably wrong.  It happens, this is amateur basketball, not the NBA.  Even those guys make mistakes and they’re making probably 20 times more per hour than our officials are making.  Understand the context behind the situation you’re in and control what you can control on the court.  Play your best game, leave it all on the court, and pick your spots wisely.  You ever heard of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf”, if you protest every call you won’t have the opportunity to get an explanation from the official or to be able to respectfully plead your case.  They won’t listen, and I won’t listen to you either, whether it be at the scorer’s table, on the court, or even if you’re on my team.  Nobody likes a crybaby, there’s no place for it in recreational basketball.

No referee that I’ve ever met is just there to collect a paycheck and doesn’t care about how he or she affects the game.  Nor is that person trying to sabotage any one player or team.  If that were the case, they wouldn’t last long in this league.  If there is any funny business going on, that person will get pushed out.  These things tend to work themselves out, people who are immoral tend to get what they deserve eventually.

Show up, play the game hard and by the rules and you won’t have to worry about this.  For every bad call that goes your opponent’s way, you will 99% of the time will be on the beneficial end of that bad call.

Special note to the Co-Ed players:

For those of you who played any organized basketball at the high school level or above, or have played in some of the other CAC leagues, typically there are 2 officials on the court for each game.  Co-Ed only gets one official, meaning that ONE person has to make calls for TEN people on the court.  Things are going to be missed, bodies are going to block the official’s line of sight so they won’t be able to see everything.  Give these co-ed referees even more of a break, trust me they are doing the best they can and want to get as many calls right as possible.