How great would it be to get paid to watch college basketball games from the closest possible seats to the action? Pretty cool, right? What if the only stipulation is that thousands of angry people would be screaming obscenities at you the whole time? Still interested? Dana O’Neil has written a piece about 48 hours travelling with Big East official Tim Higgins. It gives an interesting account of the life of a referee and a glimpse into the personal lives of some of the most criticized people in America.
I thought this was the most interesting part of the article:
“I used to open my mouth way too much,” Higgins says. “The best thing you can do is listen and move on and the best thing you can say is we disagree. You can also say I absolutely got it right or I blew it.”
I’m of the camp that a team should play well enough to win on their own and not allow a referee to determine a game’s outcome. Now I would never pretend I don’t spend most games yelling at the men in stripes from hundreds of miles away, using language and turn of phrase that would make Lisa Lampanelli blush. I’m also not naive enough to think that all referees are agenda-free and are able to keep their personal biases away from the game.
Fans (and as always to a greater degree Kentucky fans) want to blame someone when we lose, or at the very least have an excuse to throw in other team’s faces. It’s the age old adage: when looking to defend your team’s loss against gloating opposing fans, throw up the referee card and watch the nerd fight begin.
Statsheet.com has a whole section on referees and their various statistics with individual teams. You can also compare referees against one another or look at the top 25 in different categories. If you have time on your hands, its kind of fun to mess around on the site. For instance, let’s take a look at the men who have called game for Kentucky this year and the foul stats associated with them. I’ve only included those who have called 3 games or more for the Cats.
|Referee||Kentucky Games called||Total Fouls for Kentucky games||Fouls per game for Kentucky games||Overall Fouls per game|
I’m not sure exactly where it started, but the name Ted Valentine has always elicited gagging sounds from me when it is announced before a Kentucky game. Any ones in particular you feel that way about?