Friday, November 27, 2009

Bring Back Lenny Wirtz!

Here's the story of how a guy who had never refereed a game of any sort in his entire life ended up running up and down the court with DC 'Hood...

First off, what exactly is DC 'Hood? Well, DC 'Hood is a team of local priests and seminarians who enjoy playing basketball. These men regularly compete against parishes and schools from the area, sometimes even at the Verizon Center before the Wizards take the court. Their larger aim is to promote vocations to religious life, and halftime of each of their games features a presentation in this regard.

The other night, DC 'Hood took on a team of teachers, parents, and students from our parish. The four of us were in attendance most directly because Z's junior high choir was singing the national anthem.

Hanging out at the scorer's table before tip off, I was approached by one of the event's organizers...

Do you have any responsibilities tonight?

Uh, no...

Well, then, how would you like to referee the game?

Sure, no problem!

The biggest challenge I faced (other than the fact that I had no idea even where to stand!) was that there was no whistle for me to blow. Imagine a gym full of cheering kids and adults, and a bunch of competitors who are constantly yelling back and forth to one another. Now imagine trying to make yourself heard over all of that din, armed only with the power of your voice. Let's just say that during a number of sequences, the action progressed quite a ways before everyone on the court and in the stands realized that I had long ago stopped play...

Apart from these kinds of technical difficulties, there were quite a few calls I made that I should have let go, and quite a few calls I didn't make that probably deserved a "whistle." There were out-of-bounds calls where I surely sent the ball the wrong way. And I definitely found myself standing in the wrong place a whole bunch of times.

Lesson learned? I'm a much better referee when sitting on the couch!



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