Opinion: Good call referee

By Jack Zink — When attending a basketball game, there is always one phrase you are guaranteed to hear: “These refs are horrible!”

No matter what the outcome, there is always that one person (or people) who believes that the result of the game was caused by the efforts of the officials at hand. When hearing a fan, coach or player utter these words after a game, I laugh.

A couple of years ago, my dad, a basketball official, convinced me to take the class in order to become a basketball official. Not only was this one of the better decisions I have made in life, but it has also been a life experience that has been beneficial to me.

My main two motives for taking the class at first was that the money was great (typically $18 per game) and it would still keep me involved in the game of basketball after I had stopped playing.
After my first year of officiating, I realized the hardships of what basketball referees go through. The constant whining and moaning of fans and coaches could drive a person insane. Being a referee I have realized that you are wrong 50 percent of the time, all the time. It is nearly impossible to satisfy both parties.

Dealing with these people has helped me to learn how to ignore what others say, not only on the basketball court but also in real life. You only make them feel better if you respond to them.

Before I was an official and was playing basketball, I was one of the worst people to complain to referees. Now being one of them, I have seen how they can miss certain calls, as I have missed those same calls multiple times.

One of the more funny things I see while refereeing is when a kid is decked out with the best shoes and attire, yet he cannot dribble a ball to save his life. These kids’ parents are the same ones who complain about every foul and travel I did not call.

With this, the next time you want to point your fingers at the men in stripes, realize that what you say will overturn a call they have made.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]