As the late Austin Saxon wrote, God has not made a perfect basketball referee. He hasn't had enough time.
Being a ref is tough. Very tough. You get abuse from all quarters. You are expected to watch every player on the field all the time. You are expected to be completely impartial.
Refs are also human.
That sentence, just above, stopped me cold. This blog started as a rant on referees (and I will do that), but still.
I sit here writing this blog exhausted from too little sleep. A part of this lack of sleep was due to a Thursday night high school football game. I got home at 12:20 a.m. and was in bed around 1 a.m., back up at 6 a.m. to head to work.
The game was entirely too long. I am not certain how many penalties were thrown on my community's team, but I will also not be surprised if it set a new record. It seemed like every other play drew a flag. Several major plays were called back.
I've seen bad calls. I watched one bad call in Florida hand a victory to the opposition. The video of that game was used in Florida to teach referees what NOT to do.
Sitting on the sidelines muttering invectives, I wondered about calling Moody AFB and asking for a bombing run of yellow bandanas over the stadium to help the refs out. I seriously wondered if the players were actually breaking that many rules. Some I saw. Legit. Some I did not see and so cannot comment.
What bothered me more than the massive number of penalties was the constant delays. The refs were stopping the clock way too often and way too much and for way too long.
Bad calls are one thing. Good calls are one thing. Stopping the clock, like those refs did in Hugh Mills Stadium, no. It was a school night. Kids got home after midnight. That is inexcusable and I put the bulk of the fault on the refs because they kept stopping the clock! For the record, I have long objected to weekday high school sports games when the players get home after 10 p.m.
Being a ref is a hard job and I salute the men and women who are willing to do this. But after events like Thursday night, it's hard to support them 100 percent.