This is a No Dunking Zone

by Maine Basketball Rankings

In case you didn’t see this.

This is a joke. It’s an embarrassment to the state. It needs to end.

And it’s not just this one thing. While the refs in the tourney have been overall better than they have in the regular season, they haven’t been amazing. They’ve given away more than one game, which is inexcusable. The Boothbay boys have a legitimate gripe.

If you went more than 5 or 6 games this regular season without finding one who’s outcome the refs influenced, then you made it further than me, and I saw over 60 games. This determines not only who makes the tournament, but seeding and matchups which can go a long way toward determining who hoists a Gold Ball. I saw 4 different games last year where a foul was clearly assigned to the wrong player (as in, the player assigned the foul is all by themselves, 20 feet from the play), and that mis-assigned foul was the difference in a player fouling out.

It’s also a tough gig. There aren’t nearly as many refs in this state as there are aspiring refs in the stands, and those people have little-to-no concept of the rules, despite what they may think. The travel requirements are ridiculous and dangerous. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see someone get in a serious accident because they fell asleep at the wheel after working a double-header 4 hours from home. The pay isn’t amazing and people scream at them the entire time, regardless of their actual job performance. I mean, who needs that?

It seems to me we have a 2-pronged problem:

1. The parents are assholes.

OH MY GOD SHUT UP. Read a rule book. Or just this. And repeat after me, “There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. Over. The. Back.”

By all means, cheer for your kids. Loudly. But educate yourself and save your boos for when the refs really blow it. They’ll be much more effective. Because right now? You’re the boy who cried wolf. If you’re watching a game and you don’t agree with at least 80% of the calls, you’re part of the problem. And while we’re at it, your kid probably is getting the playing time they deserve. Sorry. Have them work on their defense. Coaches love kids who play defense.

2. The refs are legitimately bad.

This dunking thing is a farce, but it’s just the easiest to pin-point part of the problem. There aren’t enough refs to go around and certainly not enough good ones. Probably 30% of the refs working varsity should only be doing JV. The different boards means that you’ll get different refs and different calls depending on where you play. Some refs are able to work in a 3-man crew, but others aren’t. We’ve all seen a game where 1 refs is making 75% of the calls. If you look closely, you can usually see the other 2 rolling their eyes.

So if you actually know what you’re doing, can I strongly encourage you to become a ref? Pretty please?

Some people will say, “well, the refs are bad everywhere and these are just amateurs…,” but is that really an excuse? Training needs to be better. Rules knowledge needs to be better. Communicating a call to a coach needs to be better (because then they can tell the kid what they did wrong).

But most of all? We need to stop calling 2018 basketball by 1955 rules. And if the people in charge can’t make that happen, they need to find a new line of work.

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