Armchair Refs

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I’ve taken to attending my son’s high school basketball games lately. He’s in the pep band and has to play four of the games for his grade. I figured I might as well enjoy the games as a spectator while waiting for him to be done, so I can give him a ride home.

Besides, it’s no hardship. I love basketball. It was the first sport my dad forced on me. I took to it immediately, becoming my team’s best power forward. I had the highest rebounds and steals. I think my team even made it to the semi-finals.

Earlier tonight, I watched the girls’ basketball games, three in a row, wishing I were 14 again, so I could go in there with them, attacking the ball, no fear. I took girls out when I played, not to fight them but to gain possession of the ball. I was always that girl who held on, jerking the ball away violently to the bitter end, long after the whistle blew — the huge intimidation factor everyone underestimated until it was too late.

It was hard watching these girls get trampled on. I mean, above and beyond what even I would tolerate. At one point, two players from opposing teams tussled over the ball and the other girl landed hard on top. From my end, it looked like she was purposely shoving one of our girls down on her back. Like, really shoving. The tussle almost turned into fists flying.

There was a lot of unnecessary roughness going on. But other than several, “Wow!s” and the occasional encouragement, I kept quiet so I could, you know, watch the game.

Not so some other parents. There was this one dad of a player from the other team who just would not STFU. He refereed and coached for both the JV and Varsity teams in a near-constant stream of annoyingly passive-aggressive remarks, if you know what I mean. Like the fate of the world depended on his daughter’s school winning at all costs.

I think next time I’ll bring my headphones so I can watch the game and listen to some music on my iPod, tune out the assholes in the stands who think this is the next Hunger Games.

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