Talk to the fans as LITTLE as possible.
Scoring table... double check.
All of those people are OK to talk to... and make sure you're on the same page with (while the game is going on).
So what happened to me tonight ... caught me completely off guard.
Usually a referee story starts with "You're never going to believe what this fan said during my game tonight" ... or "I can't believe that fan actually did that to my partner."
Tonight was different.
Picture this: It's HOT... and I'm refereeing a JV Boy's Basketball Game (which turned into 3 games)... and I haven't exercised in about a week, because of a minor surgery that I had last week.
So I KNOW that I need to get out onto the court. Therefore, I went to my son's basketball game, and knew the coach would be appreciative for me helping out... and I also have a college tryout coming up this weekend, so I knew I needed to test out the legs (to see how they'd hold up).
In addition, my son was nice enough, and remembered to bring me an extra water bottle (which I went through rather quickly through the 1st game). Side note: I always try to bring my partner a water bottle before every game... it's just something that I think starts the night off on the right foot... and usually does.
Fast forward to after the 2nd game, and I went over to my little corner (because no one talks to the refs)... and literally was thinking ... "How am I going to get through this last game...I'm SO thirsty right now, and I'm refereeing ALONE, too!"
Just as I thought those thoughts, and while I was waiting for the next game to start, a lady who I had never seen before (but smiled at ... as I always try to be at least friendly to the fans before the game), comes over to me ... and hands me this huge Gatorade bottle.
A Gatorade bottle!
And then walks away.
I was stunned.
You've got to understand something... which you probably already know...
FANS DON'T LIKE THE REFS! (most likely because we call too many travels or fouls on their kids).
Before I could even get the words, "Thank you so much" out of my mouth as she was leaving ... she said "Thank you for taking the time to explain your calls to the kids. It means a lot to them... and to me."
SHE thanked ME!
Wow. Now THAT'S a first.
I've refereed hundreds of games, and that one caught me off guard.
I guess I'll just keep doing the same thing, trying my best, treating people like how I want to be treated... and maybe, just maybe... I'll get another Gatorade drink before I "retire the whistle." It's how I try to teach my students at school to act, too.
In retrospect, people amaze me sometimes... especially when you least suspect it.
Just when you think that you've had it with all of the yelling and verbal bashing... something like this happens to you.
Ultimately, remember that, "Every day is a gift, and every person has a story, so make sure you listen, because you might learn something new every day."
I learned today that there are fans out there that actually do like the refs.
Oh, and by the way, that Gatorade tasted really good.