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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 09:26am
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Evaluation of camp observer

Went to a camp this weekend, and had a disagreeable situation made worse by the observer watching my game. We were working on 3 person officiating and my crew (I was acting as Referee as I was the most experienced) worked the second half of a closely competitive game (high school varsity).

Within 5 min, it was obvious that the teams did not like each other and the game started getting rougher. We signaled each other it was time to watch and call more contact to control the game better. After a few calls, I made an off-the ball call for grabbing a cutter (from the C position). I take a few steps towards the play winding up about 5 feet from the two players who had turned around and were facing each other. I started screaming at them to break it up (had to, games were progressing on both sides of us). One shoved the other, and immediately, a teammate shoved the initiator. I grabbed the shovee, my partners grabbed the shovers, and we were busy sorting it all out, ejecting two and identifying the players who had left the bench.

Now, the observer comes over from the far side line screaming and taking “control” over the situation. There was no mistaking that he was taking role of MFWIC (Mother f**ker whats in charge). He sorts it all out, talks to the teams, and begins to berate me for not being in control of it all.

Now, here some questions:
1. It was recommended that I should have stepped between the players as they were ready to take physical action rather than screaming at them and blowing my whistle.
2. Was the observer correct in taking action? Or, should he have stayed there and taken the opportunity to observe and evaluate our (my) ability to restore order and control?
3. If your evaluation is that he was incorrect to insert himself, should I follow up with the camp director? (Of course, the observer is now broadcasting to everyone that I failed in my duties.) By the way, the observer failed to notice that players had left the bench. If I retained control, I was about to terminate the game, as there were too few players to continue.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 09:42am
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1. Yes, get between them immediately to prevent the first shove. Usually that's all they need to back off, occasionally not.

2. The observer should have kept out of it.

3. Sure, talk to the director. Don't whine about it, just explain what happened from your perspective and ask if he has any advice.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 09:50am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by refprof
1. It was recommended that I should have stepped between the players as they were ready to take physical action rather than screaming at them and blowing my whistle.
Most of the time, stepping between two players works well, but you do have to be careful. If you sense that the situation has gone too far (i.e., a punch is imminent), stay back and do what you can from a safe distance.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 10:04am
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IMO, you did a fine job not stepping between players you could have been in risk of getting punched. In this situation, the attitudes festered for an entire half before you stepped on the court. Normally, a tweet on the whistle and a verbal I got the foul works.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 10:07am
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you might ask if there's game tape available and see if there's another observer from that camp who would be willing to look at the situation with you. Don't take the perspective that your observer screwed you, but that you'd like to add to your list of possibilities for how to handle the situation.

The other thing you might have done at the moment (if you could have gotten a word in edgewise) would have been to ask for details from the obwerver you were dealing with. "I see. Now how do you do that, specifically? I'm not a very confrontational person, so specfic sentences or physical actions would be helpful, if you could describe them." This gives you something that might be useful in another game, and it gives the observer the idea that you're listening to him even if you think he's a complete jerk.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 10:39am
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I would imagine that the observer would have a little different story than what you typed here. There are usually 3 sides to every story. By what you called the observer (MFWIC), it is obvious that you are a little angry. That anger may be clouding your perception of everything that happened in that game. I think Rainmaker's idea of watching the tape with another observer is a good one.

It sounds to me as if the observer felt that he had no choice but to jump in because the game was completely out of control. Maybe he was even angry with HIMSELF for not jumping in earlier before the fracas started.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 10:51am
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Originally Posted by zebraman
It sounds to me as if the observer felt that he had no choice but to jump in because the game was completely out of control. Maybe he was even angry with HIMSELF for not jumping in earlier before the fracas started.
Agreed, must camps I have attended the observer knows in advance who is working on the court they are observing. IMO, there were plenty of opportunities for the observer to point out the game is getting out of control.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 10:55am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_ref
1. Yes, get between them immediately to prevent the first shove. Usually that's all they need to back off, occasionally not.

2. The observer should have kept out of it.

3. Sure, talk to the director. Don't whine about it, just explain what happened from your perspective and ask if he has any advice.
Sounds good to me......

In a 3-man crew, the closest 2 officials need to get in between, if they can. The third official needs to hang back and get the peripheral stuff and take numbers. Should be part of a good pre-game.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 11:09am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by refprof
We were working on 3 person officiating and my crew (I was acting as Referee as I was the most experienced) worked the second half of a closely competitive game (high school varsity).
Did you work just the Second half of this game?
If So did you observe the first half?

Were there signs in the first half of this conduct - Obviously there were signs that it was getting rougher - what could you have done to prevent this before it happened?

Were there any communications or oportunities to communicate with players - coaches that might have helped to aleiviate this from boiling over. Sometimes it just happens.
But as someone said pior to me (rainmaker) see if there is tape you can watch and critique your crews performance, honestly and see if there is something you can learn from it.
Doesn't sound like the observer was all that professional -
However I also suggest never getting inbetween players if it looks like it is escilating beyond the shouting stage. NEVER EVER GRAB them if one gets hit while you are holding them you are going to have a big problem. push them a part or stay out of the way, Take names, Take number and Issue penalties if it has gotten that far that is all you can do!
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 11:17am
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Maybe it is just the camps/evaluators I have encountered but I have always been told NOT to get in between players in a situation like this. I did it once and was ripped by the evaluation at camp and told by 5 other members on staff before the end of the day never to make that mistake again. One even said "Last thing your partner or partners need is to have a fight break out AND have you out cold from a haymaker you didn't see coming." They made it clear to get close, try to calm the situation verbally and be prepared to take numbers and administer the penalties should things escalate.

Now, if it is early and the first signs of a problem (players just jawing and not close) I will get between them...if we have tried that, have been talking and asking the coaches for asssistance and it still looks bad...I going to follow the sage advice of the camp clinicians.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 11:39am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryS
Now, if it is early and the first signs of a problem (players just jawing and not close) I will get between them...if we have tried that, have been talking and asking the coaches for assistance and it still looks bad...I going to follow the sage advice of the camp clinicians.
That's the situation that I was referring to when I agreed that you can try to get in between players. As Dan said, if you can prevent the first shove, you're doing your job. Iow, if I think I can stop it from breaking out, fine. If they look like they're serious and are gonna go, no matter what, let their coaches and teammates break 'em up.
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 11:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurassic Referee
That's the situation that I was referring to when I agreed that you can try to get in between players. As Dan said, if you can prevent the first shove, you're doing your job. Iow, if I think I can stop it from breaking out, fine. If they look like they're serious and are gonna go, no matter what, let their coaches and teammates break 'em up.
ditto to what he said!!!!!!!
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Old Mon Jun 11, 2007, 01:26pm
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I think OHBBREF had a great point...was the game heading out of control in the first half? You may have stepped into a situation not of your making. I doubt at halftime the coaches told the players to take a well-played game and turn it into a brawl. It could have been this was festering for a whole half and finally exploded.

And I'd really get nervous about stepping in between two 6'5" guys for any reason.
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Old Tue Jun 12, 2007, 12:14am
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There are a lot of variables in the original situation that were not presented clearly. What type of camp was it? Was it a tryout camp for a college contract, or was it a learning camp for HS refs to become playoff eligible or for JV refs to move up to varsity? What is your experience level, and at what level are your partners for that game? Who is the evaluator? Obviously the evaluator is a more seasoned official, but is he a college ref, a head of an association or what? All of these questions serve to provide context for what happened, and the fact that this is a HS varsity game could mean many things, it could be the level you are used to working or a higher or lower level.

Based on the context of the post, I'll assume that the majority of your crew was officiating a game that is more competitive than what they are used to officiating and that the eval is likely a college ref. Part of the job of the evaluator is to keep control on the court and ensure that a game doesn't get stupid. When he saw a fight starting to break out, he took necessary action to prevent that based on his experience. It probably would be a good idea to take note of what he did and consider using some of it the next time you get into this type of a situation because the evaluator was clearly able to command respect and restore order, which is the job that the officials on the court usually have.

I think a letter or a word to the camp director is WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE and it will make you look VERY, VERY, VERY BAD. The evaluator is there for a reason: in some way he has gained enough trust and respect from the camp director to be put in that position. Just because you, as a camper disagree with the evaluator's philosophy or handling of a situation doesn't mean you go complaining to the camp director because the only thing it will accomplish is painting you as a whiner and a troublemaker, two labels that will kill you politically. Take the advice and the criticism for what it's worth, learn from it or discard it, but ultimately use it or let it go. If there's a decision to be made about you, whether you're gonna improve your schedule or get hired, that decision is out of your hands, and if this incident prevents you from moving up, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it now, there's no appeal process. Continuing to pursue this issue out of anger certainly won't help you out now, and it may very well destroy your chances in the future rather dropping it, which would allow you to come back next year with a clean slate.
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Old Tue Jun 12, 2007, 08:09am
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1. The best referees know how to control a game.
2. Once players shove each other, the game is out of control.
3. Never believe that you did all you could do to stop a fight. You could always have done more.
4. The clinician, being a referee who knows how to control a game, took control of the situation.
5. You are spending too much time thinking about what he did, rather than figure out what your role was in the game getting out of control.
6. Focus your thoughts on the time that you walked onto the floor until the time that the players pushed each other. That will make you a better official, which is why we attend camp in the first place, right?
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