Larry Sullivan

Larry Sullivan

How was this for a role reversal?

Be honest. When was the last time you are actually pleased to see a basketball referee arrive?

Okay, you can stop thinking now. And no, that wasn’t a trick question.

For those involved in the Mooresville High School girls basketball program, they need to look no farther back than the previous weekend to find the answer.

MHS once again play host to a multi-team, near daylong preseason scrimmage session in the form of the Mooresville Basketball Jamboree that was held inside the school’s spacious main campus gym. All told, a total of 10 girls teams, nearly half of them with area connections, convened on the site to engage in various scrimmages taking place beginning mid-morning and continuing well into the early afternoon hours.

So far, so good.

Inside 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the first of the two simultaneous sessions featuring a total of four teams participating in contests taking place on courts situated side-by-side in the facility, there were no referees to be seen. Even as the bell time arrived for the beginning of the affair, still no officials were present. As expected, organizers entered the panic mode.

After some quick research, it was revealed that the supervisor of officials simply overlooked the scrimmages and failed to secure refs for the competition. The event was booked nearly two months prior and, at that time, confirmation was received in regards to assigning referees. Between that time and the arrival of the jamboree, signals became crossed to the point that the outing had somehow slipped through the cracks.

It didn’t take long for the fact to be recognized by many in attendance. Some voiced their opinions that they didn’t appreciate spending their day at a scrimmage without any officials in place.

It also didn’t take long for that fact to be remedied.

Once it became obvious that no officials were assigned to be present, organizers did the best thing they could. They recruited some volunteers with limited experience to help get the ball rolling. Meanwhile, the word was quickly spreading about the oversight.

Initially, two officials arrived and each handled the action on separate courts. Slowly and surely, additional refs began to show.

A mass email on the part of the supervisor was displayed to any and all available officials. It being the scrimmage season, as many refs as were able to make the scene changed their plans accordingly in order to make appearances.

Within the first hour of the scrimmage, enough officials were present to allow complete three-person crews to oversee the competition. Shortly after that, additional officials were on hand to allow personnel changes to take place within the various crews.

Keep in mind that preseason scrimmages for all officials are required and take place without any financial reward on their part. Still, when the need was there, they were just as quick to answer the bell.

The time is quickly arriving when regular season play can begin. In fact, games can take place as early as Monday. If you do indeed decide to catch a game, please remember the effort being put forth by the officials as well in order to get them in game-ready form.

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