Last week the outcome of a Scenic Idaho League basketball game between Wallace and Genesis Prep was changed after the final buzzer sounded.
With no time on the clock, after both teams had begun to make their way toward the locker rooms, a “fan” made it his mission to approach an underpaid high school referee and give him a piece of his mind.
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Genesis Prep had just won the game by the narrowest of margins – one point – and so we can assume what this beef between a Wallace supporter and our official was about.
Except, it wasn’t a Wallace supporter.
This “fan” was there in “support” of Genesis Prep.
In case there is too much subterfuge here – this “fan” represented the winning team.
Talk about whining over a new rope.
We almost made it a full week with fans back at games without something like this happening.
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The next few minutes went something like this: Another official, who was later leaving the floor than his unlucky counterparts, applied a technical foul to Genesis Prep, called the two teams back onto the floor, and both of Wallace’s free throws found their mark, giving the Miners a one-point victory.
So to recap – Wallace scored two points with zero seconds on the clock. Kudos to that kid who hit the free throws, too. I can think of a few players who struggle with hitting free throws during a game when they’re warmed up, let alone having started toward the locker room with their sneakers half untied.
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Whichever camp you’re in – whether it be the “officials should never affect the outcome of a game” or the “officials always get the short end of the stick” – I can offer a solution both parties could agree on.
How about that “fan” keep his choice words to himself? Better yet, how about he keep himself planted in the bleachers?
That way, his little meeting with our official might not have had to happen in the first place.
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But that is not how things went. There were some calls he didn’t agree with in that game, and he was going to make sure the officials heard about them.
It just so happened one of the officials that had the pleasure of hearing this little speech is somebody a lot of us know.
He’s a teacher, a coach, a father and one of the most laid-back, nicest guys you’ll meet, whether you pass him in the grocery store or bump into him on the sideline at a football game.
He’s driven an hour one-way and sacrificed another three once arriving so that grateful fans can watch their loved ones play a game, and now he’s got one more reason to not want to be there.
Of course, he’s classier than that, and this won’t scare him off. Officials, unfortunately, are used to this type of treatment.
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It was a rare treat for them to be able to call games for half a season without being under the scrutiny of “supporters” in the bleachers. And we’re not talking about the student sections.
But, don’t worry. If all of our north Idaho officials finally do decide they’ve had enough name-calling and hang it up – we’ll all be fine.
We can just pull any three of those “referees” out of the stands to call games for us.
They won’t make the same mistakes. Just ask them.
Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.