I am retiring . . .

From Officiating High School Basketball.  That is all. So why am I retiring? The main reason is that I’ll be taking college classes next year to work towards my teaching certification. Between those classes, Rose and my dance lessons and the long drive to school every day, I don’t have time to devote to basketball officiating the way it should be.  This was an easy decision.  So as I reflect on my time as an official, here is what I came up with.

What I will miss:
Officials I work with who are nice people. It is a lot of fun to get to know people you might not normally get the opportunity to spend time with.
Getting to listen to a student sing the national anthem. It is relatively rare – maybe one of out 10 games. But when a student sings the anthem alone, it is awesome
Watching some good teams and good players on the court. 99.9% of the players are respectful and fun to be around
Fans who are actually rooting for their teams.  Most of the time these are the students of the school.  They generally make a lot of noise and are their to cheer on their classmates or give crap to the other team.
Those coaches that actually coach the game rather than yell at officials

What I won’t miss:
The travel. Hour long drives (and sometimes longer than that) to games and then home after the games gets old
Spectators (I cannot call them fans) who yell at the officials,  Most of the time, this means adults (people who are not students).  These people seem to feel that they paid to get into the game so they have the right to yell at officials.  Get a life.
Coaches who are disrespectful to officials. I guess coaches are accustomed to rudely interacting with their players.  That carries over to officials. In real life most coaches would never speak the way they do to adults in a normal life.
Watching junior varsity games which often means I was gone five hours or more at night.

Adios officiating.

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My Most Memorable Sporting Event Live

The day – February 24, 1979.  The location – Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke University, Durham, NC.  My most memorable sporting event that I ever saw in person (that did not involve one of my children).  Going into the game, North Carolina was ranked 4th in the country and Duke was ranked 6th.So what made that day so famous?  In that game, Duke held North Carolina scoreless in the first half – I believe the only time in college basketball history that a team failed to score a point.

The score at half time? Duke 7 North Carolina 0. Carolina did not even hit the rim in the first half.  Think about that.  The great North Carolina did not even hit the rim with the ball!

North Carolina’s Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith decided he wanted to “hold down” a high-scoring Duke team and take the Duke crowd out of the game.  So he had his team hold the ball and not attempt a shot for a long period of time.  It did not work as the crowd started going crazy, the Blue Devils forced a couple turnovers and made a couple baskets.

Here is a brief excerpt from Wikipedia – North Carolina’s only two shots of the first half were air balls, that resulted in the first-ever chants of “Air ball . . . Air ball!” from the Cameron Crazies. Duke coach Bill Foster wasn’t amused by Smith’s tactics in the first half and the next day said, “I’ve been doing this a long time, but during the first half last night I began to think maybe I’ve been doing it for too long.” He then added this infamous dig: “I thought Naismith invented basketball, not Deansmith.”

Duke ended up winning the game.  I have to admit I do not remember the whole “Air ball” thing.  But I do remember being in the crowd that night and everyone was going crazy.  So I was part of history.

There is even a You Tube video of parts of the game – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRVmc6dO0g8

Those who have hope live differently

I heard that quote at church and it struck me as so true.  When a person believes there is hope they live life more optimistically.  We can all carry on more confidently if we know there is a “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Life is so much about setting expectations.  If those expectations are hopeful, we are much happier.  The kids I teach at school do not have the perspective of hope that they should.  Recently I had my Keyboarding class writing “My Dinner Companion”.  The premise was they could have dinner with anyone dead or alive and eat wherever they wanted.  Too many of them picked dinner with a boyfriend/girlfriend at McDonald’s in the local city.  They could not picture a more hopeful scenario than that.  It is the same with many of them and college.  With few role models, their college perspective is way too restricted.

So I guess part of my role in life is to help them see the “hope” that is out there.  And I am excited to try that.  I do my best to model hope.  I talk about having higher expectations for them as often as I can.  I know it will take a while for me to get through to them.  As Tim Allen said in Galaxy Quest, “Never give up, never surrender”

I hope you all are living your life with “hope”.

I know I am getting old

But why do people have to keep reminding me?

Last week my students somehow got onto the subject of age and mine came up. Of course they called me a “senior citizen” and asked if I got into basketball games free of charge because I was so old. Then they wanted to know if I go out to eat and get the senior meal prices. They got a great kick out of making fun of me.  After that, one of them played an app on their cell phone that supposedly plays pitches of sound that certain ages can hear (and us old folks can’t hear).  Not sure if they were playing me for a fool or not, but I couldn’t hear the sounds.  Oh well, my lack of hearing comes in handy some days when I don’t want to listen to them!

Last Saturday Rose went with me to the basketball game I was officiating. She was sitting way up in the stands away from most people. A gentleman sitting near her asked which team she was rooting for. She told him she was there with one of the referees. He asked her which one. Now there are only three officials. And one of us was a woman. So Rose only had to distinguish me from one other person. She could have said “the tall, thin one”. Or, perhaps the “one on the right”.  If she was being particularly descriptive (and accurate I might add) she could have said, “the good-looking one on the right”. But no, she had to say “the one with the gray hair”!  Thanks Rose.
Oh well, at least I am not six feet underground.

What a Date

Rose is a lucky woman. : )

Last night I took Rose to dinner and a “show”.  Dinner was a the very famous eating establishment called Maid Rite in Greenville, Ohio.  Never heard of it?  Well Maid Rite is a very small place – about five small booths and five stools at the bar.  The menu is pretty simple – Maid Rite or Cheese Rite, selection of potato chips, pop, beer or milk shakes.  My students were very excited that we were actually going to this place.  I guess it is THE place to go.  When I asked how to get there, I was asked “Do you know where the Walgreens is in Greenville? (me – well, no).  “How about the Sherwin  Williams store?” (me – no).  “How about the circle in Greenville?” (I am NOT from around here, I don’t know where any landmarks are in Greenville).  So we looked it up on-line and it was easy to get there.

So what is a Maid Rite?  Best I can describe it is a sloppy joe without the sloppy but with a bunch of chopped up onions.  For a Cheesy Rite, add one slice of American cheese.   Think of it as a crumbly hamburg.  Many students told me we had to get a peanut butter milkshake.  I told them that we probably wouldn’t have a milkshake because Rose likes to drink when we go out  (just teasing).  Of course, who wants a milk shake when it is 20 degrees outside?  But Rose and I decided to get a chocolate shake.

Perhaps the most memorable part of Made Rite is the outside brick wall.  The tradition is for everyone to plaster their used chewing gum on the wall.  This creates a very colorful “decoration” to the wall.  So, despite the fact that I do not chew gum, Rose and I both chewed gum and put it on the wall.  Here is a picture of the famous wall. 

As for the show, we watched my high school boys junior varsity and varsity basketball games.  I teach everyone on the junior varsity except for one person, so we had to watch.  JV won 42-40 on a last second shot.  Unfortunately the varsity lost.  Many of the kids were very excited to see us at the game – so I guess that was the real purpose for the night.  Bottom line is Rose gets a lot of credit for: a) putting up with me; b) diving 1 hour to this “famous” restaurant; c) enduring 3 1/2 hours of basketball and d) driving an hour home.  Pretty good (and understanding) wife, eh?

So the next time you find yourself north of Dayton, consider going to Maid Rite.  It is a slice of our great country.

Super Bowl Memory

I was working out the other day and on the TV was a 30-minute recap of Super Bowl 4 (they were not using the Roman numerals yet).  In that Super Bowl 42 years ago the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.  That is the Super Bowl I remember more than any other.

Everybody in my home town was a huge Chiefs fan.  Why?  The star quarterback, Len Dawson, was from Alliance Ohio!  When we went out every weekend to play football in the neighborhood (yes, back then kids actually played sports outside – without their parents organizing it!), someone was always the Chiefs.  The Chiefs used a “choir” style of huddle – unlike every other team in the league who used the traditional circle with the quarterback in the middle.  The Chiefs used men in motion and unique formations, totally different from any other team.  I can still name at least half of the Chief’s starters despite my advancing age.  By the way, the Chiefs had Fred Arbanas, a tight end, who only had one eye.

But the real star of Kansas City team was their coach Hank Stram.  Stram was a real character.  He allowed himself to be miked the whole game – the first time a coach had ever allowed that to happen.  He had a great enthusiasm for football.  He also had two of the funniest coach quotes during the game.

“Way to matriculate the ball down the field” (matriculate = to enroll in college)

“That is the way to inject the football across the goal line”

He was usually a lot more articulate than that, but I think he got carried away in the moment.