Don’t get mixed up in between!

Seeing this picture immediately brought back memories of a game I did in 2003 or so together with my well respected collegue TR. It was a game at the highest regional level and in the stands we had our collegue RH as an observer. The game went pretty smooth and by halftime we both had a smile on our face. This was a good game and we were going to get a very good note on this one. 

Midway through the second stanza the mood in the game changed. My partner called a foul and went to administer it to the table. As mechanics prescribed I went for the baseline to take my new position. Upon arriving on my new spot, I noticed both guards litterly going head to head. As I had a good feeling in the game I was immediately wanted to solve the problem. Time to show everybody what I was made of! Both guys were like 15 cm and about the same amount in kilos smaller than I am, so what could go wrong?? Using my arms as a duckbill I stepped in between. ‘Cut the crap guys!’

Unfortunately turmoil goes on. Behind my back there’s people shouting and yelling. A player of team B lies on the floor and I completely missed what happened. My partner, still communicating with the jury looks suprised my way. What the *bleep* just happened??
We decide to get together near the jury. We both have not seen what happened. RH , sitting between the homecrowd on the first floor behind the jury stands up: ‘ Number 15 hit that guy from the other team in the face’ he says. I have not seen it, so my feeling says I cannot punish him. ‘I’m not going to throw him out for something I have not had my eyes on’. I say and my partner agrees.

It takes some time before we are back in the game. I’m mad at myself and cannnot shake that. The teams luckily got their manners back and keep on playing like before the altercation.

After the game as we have a beer the ‘ criminal’ is standing next to us. He’s honest: Yes I hit him, but it was not nearly enough to fall down on the floor. I need to know: How hard was it? Hit me as hard as you hit him? He smashes my cheek. Yes I do feel it and think for myself: I should have kicked you out. I tell him: That’s enough for a D in my book. And probably for your opponent to for flopping. He confirms.

What did I learn?
In the observation with RH it turns out the whole issue cost me more than a point. I was certain about going 8 for 10, so it hurt. I made a deal with myself:

Never again step between to players looking for a fight if your partner(s) are not there to watch your blind spots. 

It’s a thing that comes up in a playoff semifinal in 2012 between Gasterra Flames and Eiffel Towers in Dutch highest league. The crew of Nico Zwiep (FIBA-ref) Barry Peters (FIBA-ref) and Michel Zegwaard (former FIBA ref) is smart and fair in the altercation that turns up. As things seem to get out of hand referee Zegwaard steps away from the situation to oversee the whole battleground. He sends Eiffelguy Tai Wesley off. After that the crew comes together and a total of four players get sent off. It’s a game 4 of playoff semifinal, mind you!

Too much you say? Can be, but it proved the perfect way to take the heat out of the situation. After that both teams and the crew finished the game like nothing happened.

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