I didn’t ref this week, but I did take several steps closer to it.
As covered last Tuesday, I am officially a basketball ref. I passed the test, I took the class, it’s over. You can’t take it away from me, so don’t even try.
These last seven days were spent emailing assigners and attempting to figure out Arbiter, the central system used to schedule officials. The unfortunate news is that I have not been given any high school-level games yet, and that could be partially because of my difficulties with Arbiter. However, I picked up a handful of middle school and youth league dates in January and February, the first real step in filling up a winter calendar, and the high school assignments will come. Refs are never not in need.
I have been nosing around in the rule book and paying attention to the officials while watching basketball in person and on television lately, even though the college refs I watch are operating under different mechanics and rules than I do in the OHSAA, something I didn’t really know until this process. For example, if you watch a college game, you won’t see the trailing ref do a visible 10-second count, but attend a high school showdown in Ohio, and you better see it every single time a team is in the backcourt.
I’m beginning to get a bit nervous for my first date, which isn’t for a couple more weeks assuming nothing comes up between then and now to take over as my inaugural gig. I need to do more practice on my own, and it can be difficult to find the time sometimes, especially with the holiday approaching. But it’s paramount that I’m as prepared as I can be when that first whistle blows, for the kids’ sake, but more importantly my own safety. If a parent is going to swing on me, I at least want to know that I didn’t deserve it.