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Secondary School Basketball Finals

You know those games that are so damn messy, that you can’t wait for it to finish, and not because you want to find out the winner? Try refereeing one of them. You know, the ones where players seem to not understand that in basketball, you’re not allowed to foul. (And that if you do, a whistle does go and you do get charged with one.) This, see, is almost perfectly descriptive of this year’s Central Zone open grade girls’ basketball final. And, yes, I was whistle-blowing, and by the way, if you were playing in that game, then understand that it’s hard to referee properly players that don’t play properly.

That game was the third of four games that I witnessed today, and the third of three that I refereed. The first two were the under-15 and under-17 girls’ finals, and the last one was the open boys’ final. The under-15 and under-17 girls’ finals were, by comparison, largely unmemorable because the open girls’ final was, well, one I’d rather forget.

You could barely call it a basketball game. I mean, in some top-level games, take the New Zealand vs. Spain game in the 2006 FIBA World Championship, for instance, you get players flopping around on the floor trying to convince the referee that their opponent had fouled. There was none of that here. There was patheticness of a lower level: a lack of desire to play some decent basketball.

Was there good defense? Almost none. No feet shuffling, no proper attempts to block shots, for god’s damn sake, not even any desire to guard the ball carrier properly. It was, throw your hands at the ball, or at the player, whichever you feel like doing more. It was almost as if neither team deserved fouls to be called for them (but referees don’t look at it like that).

It was one of those games where I was actually glancing at the clock to see how more longer I’d have to stand this. I’d even go as far as to say that neither team deserved to win. But of course, all finals have a winner and a loser—that’s just how it is.

On a lighter note, the final game of the night saw two somewhat better teams clash in the open boys’ final. Tired and annoyed, and in dire need of a break, I took a seat in the crowd to watch the game unfold. For starters, it was much cleaner. It actually looked like a basketball game. Both teams deserve praise for that, especially as, from what I’ve heard, neither team normally plays that clean.

What that meant is that it was interesting to watch. Indeed, parts of the crowd were nice and loud in support of their school, some parts louder than others. But what took place was a real battle where the winner would actually deserve to win.

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