“Ref Rants” is our referee, umpire and official-only contributor column for the worst, best, funniest and all-around horror stories that keep this job interesting. Email us at email@example.com to get your story featured on our ref rants blog and in our weekly newsletter.
This week’s Ref Rant is from “David” in the Winston-Salem, NC area.
So this one takes a bit of a twist at the end so stay with me here, and it isn’t that long to begin with.
Anyway I’m reffing this little 5-6 year old basketball league. It’s in a small town off I-40 in let’s say the western North Carolina area. There are barely any rules, I’m basically a glorified babysitter trying to keep the game flowing and teaching kids how to dribble. The pay is good though.
Again, these kids are 5 or 6 and they’re trying to play basketball for the first time, and I’m not seeing any future AAU talent.
Anyway this one dad keeps going nuts about “over the back” not being called. That rules doesn’t even exist in this league, or probably in any league with frickin’ kindergarteners. I won’t say he’s yelling it but he’s loud.
This also puts me in that weird position where I’m considering educating a pissed off parent, instead of educating the kids like I should be. But anyway.
I want to ignore pops, but the coaches and kids can hear him too. This kind of thing can throw the whole game off ya know? It’s not like the coaches read the manual and for all I know now they think I’m missing over the back calls that don’t even exist.
Eventually, I tell pops to take a seat. “Sit down.” Nice and polite but firm. I think nothing of it for the rest of the game.
Anyway, two games later I’m in the side office of this local rec center (adjacent to the court) with the guy who’s paying me. He runs the place and the league from what I can tell.
Pops, Mr. Over-the-back, comes by, sticks his ugly face in and says I quote, “better watch it around here tellin’ folks to sit down.”
You can’t make it up. After being stunned for a second I look at the rep and he doesn’t move a muscle, or even make eye contact with the guy.
I eventually say, “what?” and he more or less repeats himself with some gusto and adds what could happen in the parking lot to said offenders and walks off.
This rep tries to act like this literally doesn’t even happen. And if anything he seems annoyed with me.
This Over-the-back-a-hole aside, what the hell is wrong with reps these days? This guy didn’t even blink an eye that I basically got threatened a few yards away from some kids inside his own frickin’ building. Unbelievable. I took my check and never called the guy back.