Duke's Diary: It's Official

"He always calls everything against us."

"Not him again!"

"What I do?"

"Man I hope they call the game the right."

"Man it seems like it's 7 against 5."

"They CHEATING!"

"HE IS HORRIBLE!"

"WHERE THEY GET THIS GUY FROM?"

"CALL SOMETHING!"

The sayings could go on and on forever. Half of the fans love them and the other half of the fans hate them. Tough job? I would think so. It may be one of the most interesting jobs any person could have, but somebody has to do it. Being an official in the game of basketball from little league all the way to the pros.

What goes into a person wanting to become an official? Most of the time they want to give back to the sport. Many do it to be around the game. Most do it for the easy extra cash as a part-time job or putting themselves through school. Some people do it for the LOVE.

I am fine with all of the options mentioned. Do whatever makes you happy. I know it takes some skills to become a great official. You can go to a officiating clinic to perfect your craft and be good at it. The ones that want to be great at it and become the best work at it.

Then you have some people that have been pulled into the sport because the "Saturday" morning game that their child plays in has no officials at all, and they know something about the game. After the game they like it and begin to do it every week. Give that person a break please. They are doing it for the kids! After all its all about the kids, right? Right!

Many people have a gripe towards or about officials when they do not take the game as serious as the players, coaches, and fans. Besides, no one takes the game more serious than the fans. I have seen the fans of little league, high school, AAU summer games, and non-scholastic, and college games all the way to the pros! Fans can be tough. The response of the refs after a call is made can be very funny at times.

One of the biggest things that bothers me on the youth level (18 and under) and some college level is when there are three officials doing a game and only one official seems to be calling the game "fair" or "the right way". Many of the problems come when the refs are not in the right position to make a good call. If the players are running up the floor at full speed, then how can a official jog up the court and make the correct call? Some times you see officials barley make it to half court. "C'mon man!"

To me it does not seem possible. NBA and college refs run basically the entire game and some of the refs in non scholastic, high school, recreation leagues, and youth basketball leagues seem to not put forth as much effort. I am not saying all the officials don't give full effort on the court. I am saying that if all officials gave 100 percent every time they stepped on the court we could begin to change the culture of officiating on the youth level. Maybe the people that hire the officials need to talk with them before the games begin and set an expectation. I know if officials pay got cut they wouldn't want to work or they might just work a bit harder. The light bulb went off...college and NBA officials make a nice amount of money. I am sure they had to work hard to reach that level.

In the end; the game needs the officials on every level. Let's all work hard at something that's worth working hard for. You love the game, then call the game like it's your last game ever. Make the experience for the kids a fun experience. We all make mistakes and we learn from it. Get in the proper shape to run up and down the floor. Also let the kids know what they did wrong on the play if you can. Make it a teaching moment. If you are young and want to earn extra money it is a great way to tap into a career.

Take pride in being an official! Call the game right! After all, it's OFFICIAL!

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