Cumberland Times-News

Columns

January 20, 2013

Time for everyone to take a ‘T’

Technically speaking, it’s become a bit of a problem.

And it raised its ugly head Friday night when four technical fouls were called in the Bishop Walsh-Allegany City League boys basketball game. Three were against Bishop Walsh.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s three City games, five technical fouls. And, unfortunately, two of those games were decided by a grand total of five points.

A week ago, a technical led to Fort Hill getting two foul shots in a game with Allegany, which moved a 64-62 lead to 66-62 with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter.

Fort Hill won 68-66.

Friday night, two technicals led to the disqualification in the second quarter of Bishop Walsh 6-6 center Quincy Redmon.

Bishop Walsh lost 64-61.

What in the name of Mendy Rudolph is going on here? And what’s in store for us in the second half of the season, which tips off Friday when Fort Hill plays at Allegany?

No one knows for sure. But everyone needs to keep their cool and remember we’re talking about high school sports here. Many’s the night over the last 25 years that I’ve left  a game telling myself, “Self, why would anyone want to be an official/referee/umpire?”

One of my favorite back-and-forths repeated itself late last year when, no less than three minutes into a game, a  fan implored loudly, “C’mon, ref! Let the kids play!”

It wasn’t but a few minutes later when the same voice bellowed, “You better start calling something or this game’s going to get out of control.”

Similar cries are heard at other games, too, whether it be for personal fouls, pass interference or holding in football or the size of the strike zone or the placement of a  tag in baseball and softball.

Some of our local basketball officials work other sports, too. They’re not referees. They’re gluttons for punishment.

As one who took a basketball officiating class in college (hey, you wouldn’t take chemistry or physics as an elective, either), let me assure you it’s a challenging and difficult job. And you learn not to waste your time waiting after games for compliments.

Many of us expect officials to be perfect when the game begins and improve as the game progresses.

What if we held others to the same standard?

Extra foul shots and points sure do hurt, especially in close games that go down to the wire.

But what if Bishop Walsh had made more than two field goals over the final 6:30 Friday night? What if the Spartans had not missed two foul shots and then turned the ball over on the inbounds pass after an intentional foul with less than a minute to go? What if they hadn’t missed 16 of their 24 shots in the first half?

And a week earlier at Fort Hill, what if Allegany had gotten just a few more rebounds and not had been crushed on the boards by 41-20? What if the Campers hadn’t had nine turnovers in the first quarter?

We tend to forget little stuff like that. But we remember a few fouls we disagree with.

That’s just the way it is. Human nature, I suppose.

Seldom does officiating determine the outcome of a game, but as someone who received several technicals as a player, there was a time I didn’t believe it.

There are certain actions and certain words that are automatic T-makers. Coaches know them. Players should, too.

We don’t know if any of the players who received technicals over the last two weeks said any of the magic words because no one knows except the player and official. The first BW technical foul Friday was for pre-game dunking.

Redmon’s were supposedly for taunting, which increasingly has become a point of emphasis for officials over the years. One came after he had made a foul shot in the first quarter. The other came after he had blocked a shot in the second. I didn’t see either. It doesn’t mean something didn’t happen, but there wasn’t a big scene, lots of finger-pointing or extended jawing back and forth, either.

The difference between taunting and raw emotion after making a big play can be a fine line at times. Everyone should acknowledge that.

The three BW technicals led to six Allegany foul shots. The Campers made four and won by three, something a lot of fans on one side of the gym knew as they left that night.

Redmon, because he was ejected, must sit out the next BW game, which is a week from tonight at Frankfort.

These technical difficulties aren’t just a Cumberland thing. Grafton was whistled for three Big Ts in Saturday night’s game at Petersburg.

Where to go from here? Maybe we should all take a T, as in timeout.

Communication is key,  and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Coaches would be wise to spend an extra few minutes at practice to remind players what is accepted, and expected.

Officials could issue a bit more of a detailed reminder during the pre-game captain’s meeting. It seemed to take care of an alleged problem in football a few years ago.

Many times officials have given players a short, personal warning to try to halt a possible problem in its tracks. Then, if the action continues, the players have no leg to stand on in defending themselves.

In the meantime, it would be good for all of us to take a deep breath and relax, and then remember to yell more in support of our favorite players and teams than in ridicule of few lonely souls already wearing black and white stripes.

Nobody’s perfeck.

Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at mmathews@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore

    At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.

    July 20, 2014

  • Mike Sawyers and his father, Frank Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim

    The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hugo Perez Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?

    We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Further proof you should never bet on baseball

    Had you known in March that ...

    July 16, 2014

  • Build it now Build it now

    Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fronts, highs, lows determine weather

    Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.

    July 13, 2014