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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 12:40pm
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Reflections on taking some time off

This marks the first basketball season since 2007-2008 that I won't pick up a whistle at all.

A lot of things factored into this decision. One of the biggest being that I packed up my family and moved across the country to a new city, far away from the association where I really started officiating, moved my way up from rec league to Jr. high, to JV and eventually Varsity. We moved in February, in the middle of last season.

But it really started before that, when I had a major falling out with my assignor. I won't go into a whole lot of detail, but I was extremely frustrated with the way he handled a particular game that I called. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't do a great job on the game.

The manner in which he reamed me out about the game (via email and without taking the time to talk to me about my side of the story about what happened during the game) and the long history of not receiving ANY sort of feedback or evaluation set me off. We had words.

After working in that association for six seasons and getting nothing but positive feedback from anyone who ever watched me (of course there was criticism, but I'm talking about overall), my assignor proceeded to tell me that he never should have promoted me to varsity, and that every official in the association he had ever talked to said they were surprised that I was working varsity games.

I told him that I had talked to many officials who had recommended me for varsity (one of whom is a D-I women's official working in the Pac-12). He told me they were all "blowing smoke up my ass" and that he made a mistake by bumping me to varsity. We had more words.

A couple of nights later, I was getting ready to leave for my game, and my 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl were literally tugging at my pants asking me "Why do you have to go, Daddy? Can't you just stay with us tonight?"

I was choked up all the way to the game, wondering why I was missing out on the most precious years of my kids lives four months out of the year. All for what? To be yelled at by fans and berated by my assignor?

I texted my assignor as I was in the stands and told him that night would be my last game. As fate would have it, I was offered a job across the country the very next week.

Anyway, I don't know why I'm telling you all of this. Partly because I miss the camaraderie, and it's been a while since I've hung around other officials. I literally walked away one night, moved away the next week and just broke it off like a bad relationship. I think the other part of me is telling you all this because I wonder if any of you have ever gone through a similar experience? Or hung it up for a while because you just lost the magic?

I think maybe I'll come back one day. When the kids are older and they don't enjoy having me around so much -- it's really nice that they're still at an age where their faces light up when I walk in a room.

But for now I'm just sitting on the sidelines, watching on TV and just observing. It's kind of a weird feeling.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 12:47pm
wife loves the goatee...
 
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About the kids.... I never picked up a whistle until the last baby was off to college. Kids come second (after the wife!).... BB will still be there after the kids are grown. (Plus--you can go to the dark side and coach their teams while they are young )
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 12:51pm
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Man, screw that dude. Although I would love to hear what coulud have gone SO wrong that he would need to react in that manner.

I have young kids too, which is why I only work a limited schedule. My thought process is that I would like to stay close to the game, and I want to get my foot in the door so that when I'm ready to do it for real I'll be ready to roll. I'm sure you'll be back, but do so at your own pace.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:00pm
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Originally Posted by ballgame99 View Post
Man, screw that dude. Although I would love to hear what coulud have gone SO wrong that he would need to react in that manner.
I let the coach walk all over me and my partner during the game. I took full responsibility for that, and called my partner after the game to let him know I was sorry for hanging him out to dry in a couple of situations.

It was an incredibly heated, physical game and I just let the coach say and do way too much. The problem I had was that my assignor spent an hour on the phone with the coach after the game, another hour watching tape, and zero time talking to me about it before he sent me an email saying how crappy of a job I did.

Side note, the transition between JV and varsity was very interesting to me. It always frustrated me that, in Idaho, coaches got quite a significant say in which officials would go to state. That wasn't the case in JV for assigning post-season games.

So, all of a sudden, you move up to varsity and it's just a fact that you have to start worrying about what the coaches think of you, if you want to compete for post-season games. It's a crappy situation to put officials in, because it changed the way I started approaching technical fouls.

That was compounded by the fact that I never really new if I was doing it (interacting with coaches) the way my assignor wanted me to, because he didn't communicate with me or evaluate me, or send anyone to evaluate me. I would just ask other, seasoned varsity officials about situations, and whether they thought I handled things correctly. I made adjustments, but I know interacting with coaches was by far my biggest weakness.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:17pm
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Not trying to be funny here, but all of this comes with the territory. And this is not special to officiating when dealing with superiors or with colleagues. I would never totally quit because of these things, but to each his own. There are other things more important in life, but this sounds more like whining to me about what did not go your way. We have all been through stuff that did not go our way and we are still working. I am a little disappointed that you felt it that serious to quit, but this is not made for everyone either. This is at best a hobby that happens to pay money like an extra job. If you cannot deal with the crap that comes with it, save your sanity and get out.

I wish you the best, but I am not sure what you wanted the rest of us to say about your situation. I have heard that story many, many times before.

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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:24pm
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Originally Posted by JRutledge View Post
I am a little disappointed that you felt it that serious to quit, but this is not made for everyone either.
It's called opportunity cost. Is what you're getting worth more than what you're giving up? It's different for everyone. So evaluating me based off how you feel or view the situation probably isn't very helpful.

I made the decision that the long hours, little pay and poor treatment from my assignor was not worth taking time away from my kids at their young age. I'm not sure what's so "disappointing" about that.

Quote:
I am not sure what you wanted the rest of us to say about your situation.
Well, I kind of spelled that out, while acknowledging that I'm not sure either. Sometimes it's cathartic to just get something off your chest to someone else.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:44pm
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I have an almost 9-year-old. She plays softball (I'm the coach of the team), volleyball, and basketball.

I've missed some things. I'll admit it. I wish I would've made a few of those events, but not all of them. I'll admit that, too.

I've never been of the mindset that my life ended at the moment I had a child. Now that she's old enough to talk to, I've told her that I will try to get to some of her games and events, but she has to understand that I have my own games, too, and that those are important to me. If I give it up now, I'm not coming back in 10 years when she's off to college. I'd probably never come back.

If that makes me a shitty father, so be it. Mom's chosen to go to everything -- that's her choice. Probably makes it easier for me to not be at *every* *last* event.

When she's playing at the HS level, the balance may change, but I can guarantee I won't simply quit and follow her from event to event, either.

And since I'm coaching her team in the spring, I'll be cutting back on summer baseball work. That needed to go anyway.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:45pm
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My 32.5 cents

First of all experience is the greatest teacher. So if you ever decide to wear the uniform again you will be better for it.

Second of all, never worry about what you can't control. Trust me when I say this, coaches don't care who the nicest officials are or who they get along with, they want the best officials, period. So continually working and mastering our craft will allow you to walk into any gym on any given night without fear of having to "impress" a coach for his vote. The votes will eventually come when you are ready.

Third, what's fantastic about our craft is you can choose to work a couple nights a week. Maintaining proper balance can be difficult, especially if you are trying to reach varsity levels on a consistent basis, or higher levels of play.

Good luck in your new settings.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:52pm
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Originally Posted by Toren View Post
First of all experience is the greatest teacher. So if you ever decide to wear the uniform again you will be better for it.

Second of all, never worry about what you can't control. Trust me when I say this, coaches don't care who the nicest officials are or who they get along with, they want the best officials, period. So continually working and mastering our craft will allow you to walk into any gym on any given night without fear of having to "impress" a coach for his vote. The votes will eventually come when you are ready.

Third, what's fantastic about our craft is you can choose to work a couple nights a week. Maintaining proper balance can be difficult, especially if you are trying to reach varsity levels on a consistent basis, or higher levels of play.

Good luck in your new settings.
We're rated by the coaches here, too, and our non-conference assignments are typically made by the schools. Hasn't stopped me from whacking coaches who needed it and I never think about my schedule when I need to drop the hammer (which doesn't happen often).

I haven't been at a (not-so-local, so I'm not that sad) school in a few years -- I called a fifth foul against their star player for a blatant illegal screen and my usual 2-3 non conference games there went to zero overnight. My regular partners still are asked to work there.

But that's how things work sometimes and I'm too old and have too much integrity to worry about how a particular call is going to piss someone off.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 01:59pm
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Originally Posted by Rich View Post

If that makes me a shitty father, so be it. Mom's chosen to go to everything -- that's her choice. Probably makes it easier for me to not be at *every* *last* event.
I want to be clear that I'm not projecting my decision/thought process on anyone else here.

This was a very personal decision for me and, of course, everyone's circumstance is different.


Quote:
Third, what's fantastic about our craft is you can choose to work a couple nights a week. Maintaining proper balance can be difficult, especially if you are trying to reach varsity levels on a consistent basis, or higher levels of play.
Really appreciate that.

I think I will start picking up a few kids rec league games here and there next year. But I really just felt like I needed to take this season completely off and spend it at home to clear my head from all the politics and jockeying for position that I was going through back in Idaho.

Rutledge is right. That stuff isn't for everyone. I went through that in a previous job, and I did the same thing then. I quit. Walked away and started my own business. So, maybe it is more about my personality than anything else.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 02:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
I have an almost 9-year-old. She plays softball (I'm the coach of the team), volleyball, and basketball.

I've missed some things. I'll admit it. I wish I would've made a few of those events, but not all of them. I'll admit that, too.

I've never been of the mindset that my life ended at the moment I had a child. Now that she's old enough to talk to, I've told her that I will try to get to some of her games and events, but she has to understand that I have my own games, too, and that those are important to me. If I give it up now, I'm not coming back in 10 years when she's off to college. I'd probably never come back.

If that makes me a shitty father, so be it. Mom's chosen to go to everything -- that's her choice. Probably makes it easier for me to not be at *every* *last* event.

.
Different strokes for different folks.

I chose to go the other route and give up a large chunk of my schedule rather than miss my sons HS games (when they were in HS). If that makes me a shitty ref, so be it.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 02:31pm
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Originally Posted by rockyroad View Post
Different strokes for different folks.

I chose to go the other route and give up a large chunk of my schedule rather than miss my sons HS games (when they were in HS). If that makes me a shitty ref, so be it.
Well, I have 5 more years to figure that out.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 02:33pm
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Originally Posted by Toren View Post
...Third, what's fantastic about our craft is you can choose to work a couple nights a week. Maintaining proper balance can be difficult, especially if you are trying to reach varsity levels on a consistent basis, or higher levels of play.

...
I currently have Mon-Wed blocked out for my HS assignors b/c I'm in school.

And b/c I'm having some problems with my 15 year-old, I'm limiting my availability to my HS assignors even after the semester ends.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 02:36pm
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Well, I have 5 more years to figure that out.
Ouch.

Thanks for making me feel old.
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Old Thu Dec 05, 2013, 02:45pm
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Originally Posted by rockyroad View Post
Ouch.

Thanks for making me feel old.
Nah, mine was born when I was 35. We enjoyed 8+ years of marriage before we decided to have a kid. Always fun to go to the school and see parents in their late 20s and early 30s and I'm in my mid-40s.

There's no right answer for any of this. It's all personal. One of my regular partners decided to pack it in for both HS baseball and basketball because he has 3 teenaged daughters and he wanted to coach and watch. I'm happy that this is the decision he wanted to make. I'm glad he stayed with FB, cause it would be hard to find a line judge as good as he's been.

I'm only working HS boys and those games are frequently played on different nights, so if she plays hoops, I'll probably not have to do much to see most of her games.
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