Monday, May 22, 2006

Catching Up

I have been away from the keyboard for a while. At least I have not been writing here. I have spent a lot of time in front of the computer. I just wasn't doing any writing.

It's been a busy week. You would think that a busy week would give me lots of stuff to write about. It did. Unfortunately my busy week didn't leave me any time to do the actual writing.

So where was I?

First up, Volleyball. Last Monday night was the first round of the post season tournament. My team played about the way they normally do, slow, not moving much, but getting by anyway. We managed a first round win in two games. This moved us into the semifinals on Wednesday. Wednesday night was a really different game. We played against a team that didn't set or hit much at all. But they really passed and covered the court well. They were really good at controlling the pace of the game. My team started out a little slow but picked it up near the end of the first game. We trailed most of the game by 5-6 points. Then my players finally stopped one hitting the ball over the net and started passing, setting and hitting. We managed to get within one at 20-21 when we had a spiked ball sail long and land near the back line of the court. I wasn't able to see where the ball landed because a player blocked my view. But the main referee called the ball in, but before signaling the point in our favor, checked with the second referee. The second referee also called the ball in. Just to double check the referee called time-out and called the second referee over. I couldn't hear the conversation but the second referee did signal again with his hands that the ball was in. So the referee signaled the ball in, and awarded my team the tying point and the serve. Immediately the crowd of parents sitting behind our opponents started booing and jeering the call. At this point the referee reversed himself. Called for a replay, took our point off the board and gave the serve back to our opponents.

At that point the mood on my team changed and nothing I said would change it. They all just shut down. We ended up losing the first game 24-26 and then lost the second game 15-25. It was ugly, but not as ugly as our main referees selling out to the crowd and allowing them to make calls for him.

I have watched this man referee youth basketball for several years and thought that he was the worst referee I have ever seen. The volleyball games he has refereed the last few years have been filled with bad calls, worse non-calls, and complete inconsistency. I expect referees to make calls that I disagree with. They are human and make mistakes. Usually these calls don't upset me too much because they are often a function of perspective, what the ref sees from the ladder vs. what I see from the bench. But this guy, every game I have ever seen him referee has at least one call in it that leaves everyone in the gym wondering what the hell game this clown is watching. But Wednesday night was a new low. Allowing the crowd to sway his decisions completely in my mind, disqualifies this moron from ever showing up in the gym in his white shirt and black pants again. Unfortunately he is the director of the youth activates here in town so I don't even have a place to go to complain about him. Plus he certainly won't have the moral fiber to admit to himself that he doesn't have the backbone to be in a position where he can effect the outcome of athletic events.

Now I know that one bad call truly horrible call should not be able to completely dominate the way a team plays. But I'm dealing with 13-16 year old athletes who have a hard enough time concentrating on the game when things are going well. Getting them to stop obsessing about such blatantly obvious ineptitude by a referee is almost impossible.

I used both my time outs in the second game to try and get the girls back on track and playing and each time we huddled up I was barraged with questions about that one play from the game before. They were absolutely obsessed and I can only tell them that it was a bad call and get over it, so many times. If that is what they are thinking about, then that is what they are thinking about.

So our season ended in the semifinals. I was fairly pleased with the season. The team went 4-3 and lost in the semis. That's actually pretty good for a team where 3/4ths of the team did not want to learn how to play better volleyball. They were only interested in hitting the ball over the net.


On Tuesday night I had my fifth intramural golf match of the season. I was playing against a golfer with the same handicap as mine. That meant no strokes either way. We were playing scratch. It was a pretty good night. I started out losing a couple holes, winning a couple holes and a couple ties. Then after 6 holes I performed a headectomy on my butt and realized that lately I have been hitting my driver 150 yards, my three wood about 180 yards, and my 5 wood 240 yards. So I quit pulling my driver and three wood out of the bag and started teeing off with 5 wood. Suddenly I was back in the match, for one hole. I won the long par four fifth hole thanks to two really good 5 wood shots, a chip and two putts. Then I lost the next hole where I couldn't use the 5 wood. So we went into the long par five, seventh hole. That is were things turned weird. Both my opponent and I were under net par so far and our match was tied. I shot a double boggie the hole, and won my match. Where my playing of that hole went bad, my opponents went worse. I would like to take credit for my first win of the season but in reality, my win was a gift from my opponent.


Thursday night my daughter and I went over to watch the last night of city volleyball. We got there early and watched a couple of her friends, who were playing in division 1, play their last game of an undefeated season. Then we watched the division 2 finals. Liberties, the team that had beaten us the night before was playing with only 5 players. They played a wonderful defensive game. They passed well, and covered the floor like a rug. Spikers, the other team, the one we were cheering for, was playing the kind of offense that I had tried to teach my team. Since they had only 6 girls show up they ran a 5-1 offense. Their setter was a setter from last year’s freshman team at high school. They ran the offense perfectly. Every play was a pass to the setter followed by a set to a hitter. They didn't have a dominating hitter so the phenomenal defense that their opponents were playing was tough to beat.

The Liberties jumped out to a fast 7 point lead and held it all the way up to the point where the Spikers finally caught them and won the game 25-23. The second game the Spikers offense sputtered. They just couldn't score against the Liberties defense. They lost the game 15-25.

The third game was great. The Liberties defense held and the Spikers stayed with their offense. They fanatically stayed with their offense. They passed, they set, and they hit. I was very relieved that in the end the well-run offense won. I've spent the last three years beating tough offense into my daughter's head so it was good to see that Championship Match didn't make a liar out of me.


This weekend my daughter had a middle school water fight planned at the park. I drove her over there to drop her off. Then I ended up running some errands for the teacher, and eventually ended up staying for the entire party. Oh, well I like those kids.


I have spent most of my limited time this last week making DVDs for my volleyball team. I took all the pictures that I took last season and put together a video with background music to show all the pictures as a video. Then I made a copy of that DVD for each player. Then I had to generate and print participation certificates for each girl. Then in a fit a insanity I decided to go through all my pictures and put together a collage of pictures of each player.


So that's why I haven't been writing much lately. Sports night at school is tomorrow. I will have passed out all my certificates, videos, trophies, etc. Then I only have to get through my daughters promotion ceremony at the end of the year, and her confirmation a week later. Hopefully things will calm down enough around here that I will be able to be more consistant with my writing in the near future.

No comments: