If We Had Chairs, I Might've Thrown One
Now I've been known to engage in various sideline hysteronics, but most of that was during my early years, when I was young and hot-headed. I've become much more calm, picking battles, and approaching referees cooly, and with respect. I haven't gotten a technical called against me in almost five seasons. On Thursday, I almost got thrown out of the gym.
In the previous five games, not one player has ever fouled out. Thursday, four players did.
In the previous 10 halves, we've been in the penalty once. Thursday, we were in the penalty before the end of the 1st and 3rd quarters, respectively.
In the previous four games, we'd been whistled for a total of 38 personal fouls. Thursday, we were called for 29. In one game.
It just destroyed the game. No flow, no pace. And the whole time we were getting called for dinky touch fouls, we were getting hand-checked, arm-barred, and over-the-backed to death. And usually, you can talk with the officials about how they're seeing the game, ask them to look for something you're seeing; it's how these things go. Not with these assholes.
Consider this exchange.
ME: Mr. Official, I see three players with their arms in the air, straight up.
SHIT-FACE: Shut your mouth coach, I don't need your attitude.
Or this one:
ME: Mr. Official, my players getting arm-barred and hand-checked all over the place.
D-Bag: It's a contact game coach, stop whining.
ME: That's fine, sir, then let it be a contact game on the other end of the floor.
D-Bag: Another word and I'm throwing you out of the gym.
Still, we almost win. But after three starters are fouled out, another one is exhausted from getting grabbed and pulled and knocked around, and they're shooting foul shots every trip down the floor, we have to go to run clock in the 4th quarter because the game (with seven minute quarters) has been going on for an hour and a half, and we lose to a much worse team.
After the game, I walk up to the officials and say, "Gentlemen, I'm incredibly disappoted with the way you officiated this game. It was awful out there." And one of them comes running up to me, sticking a finger in my face, and things get a little heated, and I'm yelling how this isn't a high school game, rules are interpretated in every game, at every level to maintain the integrity of the competition, and how I've never seen a middle school game officiated in this manner and you better get your damn finger out of my face.
There are a lot of frustration-tears in the post-game meeting, hands out, saying, I don't know what I'm supposed to do, and they're right, because what can you do. In the meeting I apologize, saying, "I tell you to play with a cool head, and I did not coach you today with a cool head. I'm embarrassed, and I'm sorry."
Then I go home and write my letter of complaint to the head of the referee association.