Sunday, November 8, 2009

November 8, 2009

I wrote a post in February to discuss the topic of abuse at the scorer's table during OUA Basketball games. If you missed it, you may want to read that article first as a refresher for this post.

Friday night I was announcing the Carleton-Guelph men's basketball game at the W.F. Mitchell Centre in Guelph, a thrilling game to say the least. At one point in the second half, Guelph's Matt Howlett picked up his fourth personal foul, and the person working the player scoreboard inadvertently put up that it was his fifth foul. Now, even though I had announced that it was the fourth personal foul, and the official scorer had noted that it was the fourth personal foul for Howlett, the scoreboard was incorrect.

We worked at the scorer's table to try and fix the problem, but for some reason, we weren't able to clear the board and correct it. We tried, but we didn't know how to correct it, and with the furious pace of the game and energy of the crowd, it was difficult to keep up with the current happenings while trying to correct the problem.

Sure enough, a Carleton supporter on the opposite side of the gym started yelling and furiously waving his arms. "Five fouls!" he yelled over and over, holding up his hands with his fingers spread wide, appearing to be looking for a mystical high-five that would never come. He was so demonstrative and out of control that I felt compelled to do something I've never done before in 12 years of announcing. I got on the microphone at the next whistle and indicated that while the scoreboard indicated that it was a fifth foul on Howlett, it was indeed only his fourth, and that the scoreboard was incorrect.

The thing that astounds me is that this man, clearly a Carleton fan, thinks that a 6-time National Champion and 3-Time National Coach of the Year like Dave Smart, arguably the top coach in Canada, and his coaching staff, could have missed something like this. This guy thinks that HE'S the one who is going to save the day for the Carleton Ravens basketball program because the coaching staff is too dense to record fouls on the bench?

And just for a frame of reference, when a player has 5 fouls, the scorer will IMMEDIATELY notify the officials of the situation, and in the event that the officials don't hear the scorer's table, or don't notice that we've indicated the fifth foul, the horn is buzzed and the game is NOT started until the player is removed from the game. This is standard procedure, and to think that an official of the game would not notify an official is completely absurd.

But even worse than the spastic convulsions of Mr. Carleton High Five, was that after the announcement had been made to indicate that the board was incorrect, a Guelph fan started yelling from his seat on the baseline under the basket. He yelled at the scorer's table repeatedly, and specifically loud enough for the entire arena to hear, "Change the scoreboard! Fix the scoreboard!"
This is what I don't understand. The announcement was made, loudly and clearly, and if anyone were to be actually looking at the scorer's table, they could see TWO people working to try and fix the scoreboard. But this "gentleman" still decided that it was appropriate to yell from across the floor at the scorer's table to fix the problem, as if we were just going to leave it and not worry about it. Another cranky old fan to save the day, once again.

Here's a newsflash for those of you that don't know this...the player board, that indicates the number of points and fouls that individual players have...it's just cosmetic. It's not official. It's a courtesy to the fans in the arena to keep them up to date on the game. It's a human operating the scoreboard, it's not a magical program that senses when a basketball goes through the net, or recognizes the official's voice to indicate who the foul was charged to. And if something gets punched in incorrectly, that doesn't mean that it is wrong in the official scorer's book. If a player is listed on the board with 81 points instead of 18, there's no need to yell and scream. Rest assured that the official documentation is correct.

As I mentioned in the initial post last year, "Fans interacting with the scorer's table only interferes with their ability to focus on their job for the game, which in turn could lead to more errors. Nobody, including you, wants this." Keep that in mind before you make a scene at the ball game.

1 comment:

brytni said...

UGH story of my life. I used to score basketball games all the time, for school for tournaments we were hosting, whenever the Dalhs needed me, and i used to get yelled at all the time over EVERYTHING. IT didnt matter how long it took you to fix it, you got yelled at forever, and then they'd yell at you throughout the rest of the game to mess with you :( i didnt like scoring after that!.. OBA parents are horrible like that. But now i ref. and don't have to worry about that anymore! lol