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Referees - A Fan's Worse Nightmare

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by user Xtinct

As sports fans, we've all been on the wrong side of a referee's judgement regardless of sport. It's a wonder that only recently has mainstream media brought the dubious officiating to light. You've heard us fans attack the refs, unjustly sometimes. But the media has walked a fine line when it comes to outwardly targeting the faults of officiating until recently.

There are three qualms I have with officiating in sports: 1) Referee power trips, 2)Pre-Calls vs Late Calls (relating to basketball more than anything else), and 3) Make-up calls.

In my opinion, most referees are on a power trip. They hold the fate of something much larger than themselves in their lips with the simple breath into their whistle. They can change the outcome of a championship that they would never play for with just a simple gesture. And perhaps the true derivation of their power trip is in that last statement. Ever notice how referees, outside of soccer, never seem to be folks that have played the sport at a high level? Dick Bavetta dropping jumpers? Don't think so. It's almost as if referees were those guys who got picked last in pickup games deciding that if they can't play the game...they'll change the game. Just a theory.

We've all seen it. A referee blows the whistle immediately but upon replay absolutely nothing occurred. Or what about when the shot goes up, hits the backboard and rims out, then the whistle blows? You could argue pre-calls vs late calls all day as both have their pros and cons. Pre-calls make the referee seem definitive, sure of himself, even if replays show his judgement to be lacking. Late calls better ensure the right call but serve as ammunition to sports conspiracy addicts. Personally, I will take a late call over a pre-call anytime. Pre-calls assume that because a player made a certain motion, he committed a foul. A reach-in isn't a foul until contact with the opposing player is made. A loose ball foul is not a player jumping higher than the opposing player in front of him. I feel pre-calls have led to the phenomenon of flopping that plagues the NBA and is leaking into college ball. Late-calls on the other hand, though somewhat irritating, are usually proven to be correct when instant replays are run.

The infamous make-up call. These are the refs basically saying, 'Ok, I made a booboo, I'll fix it by making a call I normally wouldn't call in order to make everything right'. Two wrongs don't make a right. If the refs would stop with the pre-calls, a lot of make-up calls wouldn't have to happen.


Thu 05/11/06, 5:35 am EST

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