...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Keeping my tongue tucked in on the sidelines

Did I ever tell you about the time Josh and I almost got kicked out of a Jr. Jazz basketball game?

(That's a rhetorical questions because I know I didn't tell you yet because it only just happened)

Bryce is currently in a tournament with his Jr. Jazz team (the regular season is over, this is a bonus bit of play for these boys against some more established teams).  The first game of the tournament, Bryce's team played a team of all girls and they were REALLY good (if I understood correctly they won the tournament last year...plus most of the girls stood at least a head taller than most of our boys, it was pretty wild).

The game was tight from the start and Bryce's team held their own until a couple of their big players fouled out and then we ended up getting behind by a few shots and we lost.

It really was a close game. 

And it was a poorly called game.  Like a very poorly called game.

The officiating was really, really bad. 

Now, I'm not blaming the loss on the officials or anything.  We had too many turnovers and missed shots.  While the calls were bad, the girls just flat out beat us...but only barely.

However, the officials were really whistle happy and they did have some, shall we call them, "creative" versions of calls (like charging...seriously...three charging fouls on one kid as he drove the lane while defenders were chasing him down and jumping in front of him...hmmmm, not so much).

On one such questionable play, one of our forwards had the ball and was dribbling into the key and two defenders collapsed in on him.  He had a lot of forward momentum so he planted a foot and pivoted around to pass the ball to one of his teammates.  It was actually a pretty smooth play.

But the shrill scream of a whistle sounded and this boy was called for traveling.  It was about the 6th or 7th time this official had called traveling when a player planted a pivot foot and used the other foot to swing the ball (and it was called on both teams so I'm not saying he was playing favorites).
The faces of EVIL on the sidelines!

Josh and I were sitting on the sideline directly behind the basket  just feet from the entire scene.  We had a front row seat for this slander of basketball ruleage.

Now, you have to know, we are NOT "those" parents.  You know, the ones who scream at refs and banter with coaches if their kid doesn't see enough playing time and call out other players of the team for mistakes and the like.  We are pretty chill.

But we do cheer...loudly (Josh doesn't really do anything quietly).  We try to learn the names of the players on our team so we can yell for them specifically when they do something good.  We shout and clap and try to keep positive vibes flowing at our team from the sidelines.

Still, in this case we were both frustrated.  This repeated ridiculous call was really getting tired.  I called out, "Oh, come on!" and Josh said, "NO WAY!  His foot was planted!"  I know, really controversial stuff, right? (Notice how soggy that last sentence was with sarcasm.)

Well, the touchy ref on the floor immediately turned around (mind you, we weren't the only people yelling out, but somehow he zeroed in on us).  He walked straight over to us looking affronted and angry and said, "What did you say?"

Josh repeated, "His foot was planted, that wasn't traveling!" and a bunch of people around us started voicing their opinion as well.

Getting more grumpy the ref burst out, "That's enough," and glared directly at Josh and I.

By now I am annoyed.  Not only has this guy been calling an imaginary version of the game the entire time, now he is being a jerk when we weren't even yelling at him or calling him out or anything personal.  We're allowed to cheer and shout at a game, that's part of basketball.

Still looking straight at us this guy got really ornery and yelled, "I don't have to take this crap from you.  One more word and you are out of here!"

I have never come so close to being thrown from an arena.  I opened my mouth to say, "Oh, I didn't realize we weren't allowed to talk at the games.  That's my bad," when suddenly time stopped. 

In that one drawn out moment, I envisioned my son watching as his mild mannered mother was escorted from the gym under duress.  I thought, "What will you tell him when he asks why you got tossed and you have to tell him that you couldn't keep your tongue in check?  That rather than watching him play you just had to get in one last crack?"

And that's when I snapped my mouth shut and swallowed back the retort that was already spilling from my lips.  Josh looked at me funny because he knew I had started to talk, but I just shook my head and kept my peace. 

(I learned later that Josh's first reaction had been to stand up say, "Well, I can show you what a planted foot looks like if you want so you don't miscall that again," and give a quick demonstration but he had similar second thoughts choosing to keep his tongue tucked in as well.  Good thing, bishops should not get kicked out of Jr. Jazz games.)

We both started laughing out loud (maybe that's a form of ammunition unto itself, although in this case it just kept us from saying anything we would regret) and the touchy, grouchy ref looked at us huskily and stalked off.  He didn't say another word to us the rest of the game (actually he pretty much hung out at the scorekeeper's table from then on when the game wasn't going). 

I've mentioned my snarky inner voice before, but he almost got me in trouble that day.  Luckily reason won out and wired the snarky voice's jaw shut just in time to save me from a rather uninviting conversation with my son. 

It's always fun to have a bit of drama at the Jr. Jazz game.  I imagine this is one we will laugh about together for a good long while.


Suzanne said...

Oh Mellissa this was so funny. My best friend always takes suckers to a game because she has almost been thrown out before.

mormongrandpablogger said...

Having lived in your presence for a number of years, I am not surprised that you felt a need to comment on inappropriate behavior by a referee. You were trained well by the finest ref-baiter in town. O, that some of those days could be taken back -- and hurrah for you that you don't have to do the take-backing. Congrats on a bitten tongue and many happy days ahead as it gets worse.

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