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Posts Tagged ‘refs’

Wolf cheerleader Ella Bueler stalks the perfect pic. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Hawthorne Wolfe fan club gets vocal.

Phil Renninger commands the floor.

Where the action starts.

CHS band director Jamar Jenkins fires up the drum set.

The most-experienced scorer’s table staff in the biz.

CHS girls hoops guru Scott Fox (back) swaps tales with longtime coach turned Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor Jim Waller.

Former CHS volleyball stars Ashley Menges (far left) and Maya Toomey-Stout (second from right) discuss life.

Sometimes the real action is what happens between plays on the court.

Photographer John Fisken stays busy, even when the players on the court are taking a momentary pause, and the pics above capture those supplementary moments.

From cheerleaders moonlighting as paparazzi, to band directors sitting in for their drummers, to friends and former teammates reconnecting, it’s all part of the tapestry of CHS sports.

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Is this the face of a man who can change? We’ll see. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We have a problem.

And by “we,” I fully include myself.

Over the eight years that Coupeville Sports has existed, I have, on many occasions, written less than flattering things about various refs and umpires who have worked Wolf games.

Some of that was based on truth, or, at the least, what my admittedly biased brain believes to be the truth.

I’ve witnessed bad calls. Atrocious calls, even.

Occasionally seen what I believe to be bias at work.

Wondered how on Earth a human being can move down the field, or the court, or the diamond, with their head stuck so far up their nether regions.

While I haven’t screamed at the men and women in the stripes, I have used my bully pulpit — this blog — to share my thoughts on the subject.

Sometimes I have been funny about it. Or at least amused myself.

Other times I have been confrontational, rude, or far worse.

I don’t scream at the refs and umps, maybe, but I stoke the fire. I know that.

Oh, I will tell you I do it less today than I did two years ago, six years ago, or eight years ago, which is supposed to show growth. And it might.

But I still do it.

And I really shouldn’t.

People scream at games, and many say things which they hopefully regret later.

There’s a line between being involved, caring deeply, being protective, and just being rude asses.

It’s a line parents seem to be crossing more and more lately, and I see and hear it from Wolf fans at a level that wasn’t there in the past.

We are dangerously close to being the fans of the school other fans and schools talk about, and not in a good way.

I’m no innocent here.

My words, while initially not as loud as a parent swearing at a ref, ultimately last a lot longer, as they go into print, and live forever on the internet.

That’s probably worse.

There are rules for people who write for newspapers, rules I once lived under during a different part of this career.

Here, on my own blog, where I, and only I, edit my words, I have a great deal of freedom.

Freedom to be much more colorful in my writing style.

Freedom to cover what I want, when I want, how I want.

And, also, freedom to be an ass in a way I couldn’t be if my bylines were still running in the Whidbey News-Times or Skagit Valley Herald or Coupeville Examiner.

There is a guy deeply involved in sports in this town, a man who has seen the game from every side, as a player, a coach, a teacher, an administrator, and when he speaks, I do try and listen.

He made a good point recently, and he said it with a smile, but also with great seriousness.

That point is that, at a time when we are experiencing an unfortunate surge in parents being, frankly, asses, at their children’s games, especially in terms of what they scream at the refs and umps, I bear my share of the responsibility.

If I encourage that behavior, if I fan the flames, I’m as much of the problem as the person firing F-bombs like they’re manning an anti-aircraft gun.

I give the griping, the venting, the anger, an air of legitimacy. I celebrate it, and keep stoking the embers.

Coupeville Sports has, I don’t know if you’d call it “power,” but an ability to help shape the conversation.

It’s read by enough people, in the right demographics, and it continually surprises me how far out there in the universe my words travel on these here interwebs.

And I have to do better.

None of us here in Coupeville want to be thought of as ignorant hicks; we don’t want to be the town no one wants to play, not because of our skill, but because of our rudeness.

I’m not telling you not to protest when something seems wrong.

I’m not telling you not to support your team, your school, your town.

I’m not telling you to back down.

I want you to be as loud, and vocal, and supportive as possible.

But I am asking you to look down on the field, as you prepare to scream profanity at the refs and umps, who are being paid very little to make sure your children get to play competitive games, and think for a second.

Think about how the deluge of verbal crap is driving a large chunk of those men and women to quit.

I do.

There are refs and umps I have written harsh things about on this blog who I don’t see on the field anymore.

Were my words the final straw? It’s possible, and it’s deeply troubling.

Think about how the deluge of verbal crap affects your children.

Their coaches, their teachers, the school administration, are asking them to play hard but fair, to show respect for the opponent, their teammates, the refs, and the game itself.

And then their parent is screaming at the ref and asking him or her to do something anatomically impossible.

It’s amusing, until it’s not.

Or I’m bad-mouthing the same refs and umps, calling their integrity into question, giving them ample reason to think of me as a douche bag, and my town as a place they’d rather not work.

It’s amusing, until it’s not.

There will always be bad calls, though, as any reasonable person knows, “bad” often depends on which team you support, and whether the call went against that team.

We live in an angry world.

It may be naive to hope that one small slice of it — sports played by teens and pre-teens — can provide an oasis.

But, for that to even be a possibility, we all have to do better.

For my part, I’m going to try and change one aspect of my writing, by focusing less on the perceived failings of refs and umps.

There are days when it will be a struggle, I’m sure, but it’s something I need to do.

If nothing else, writing this blog, and getting input from people far more in tune with themselves, is sort of like going to therapy. Hopefully some of it sinks in over time.

I hope others, specifically CHS parents, join me in looking inward and trying to find a better balance as well.

It’s simple. We can be supportive, without being asses.

Towns should fear the arrival of Coupeville because they know its teams will dominate on the field, not because their school officials will have to debate chucking our fans out the side door, while banning me from the premises.

We are better. We just need to prove it.

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(Amy King photo)

   The Wolves arrived early, but were forced to cool their heels due to the host site’s team holding a practice — in the one gym on campus. (Amy King photos)

dab

While they waited, they posed for a photo or two hundred.

So far this postseason the 1A Olympic League is 0-6 against the Nisqually League.

The closest anyone from the four-team conference, girls or boys, has come to toppling their big city rivals came Wednesday, when the Coupeville girls roared back in the fourth quarter to nearly erase a 15-point deficit before falling 52-48 to Charles Wright Academy.

The loss dropped the Wolves to 15-5, but they will get a second crack at playoff hoops Friday, when they will return to their new home away from home, Sumner High School.

Coupeville will face Seattle Christian (10-7) at 7:45 PM in a loser-out District 3 game.

Win and they will be one of the final 16 1A girls teams still alive for a state title and will advance to regionals the next weekend.

To do so, the Wolves will need to learn a valuable lesson from Wednesday’s game — Olympic League refs have NOT prepared conference teams for playoff basketball.

It is a simple fact — if Coupeville played during the regular season like Charles Wright did Wednesday, their starting five would have fouled out of every league game.

Probably mid-way through the first half.

Coming from a league where jump balls and ticky-tacky fouls are often called with a startling frequency, the Wolves found themselves face-to-face with a foe who routinely initiated considerably more contact then they are used to, and refs who had little issue with it.

One example: Kailey Kellner scrambled back on defense and planted herself in front of oncoming Tarriers four times, absorbing the collision.

In Olympic League play, it would have likely been four offensive fouls.

Against Charles Wright, Kellner herself was whistled three times for the foul, only garnering the charge on her fourth and final attempt.

Knocked around on the boards — even when they were able to hold on to the ball, the Wolves were routinely roughed-up — and offered few chances at turnovers thanks to strong ball-handling by Charles Wright, Coupeville had trouble finding a reliable rhythm.

The Wolves did start with a bang, dropping in the game’s first five points (a Makana Stone put-back off of a rebound and a gorgeous three-ball from the left side from Kellner).

Three straight buckets from Stone, on which she showed off her superior speed and slashing ability, staked Coupeville to an 11-6 lead, its biggest of the night.

Charles Wright immediately responded, however, knotting things up at 11 before the Wolves capped the first quarter with their best offensive play of the evening.

Racing the clock, Mia Littlejohn shot up the side, dished the ball to Kyla Briscoe, then pumped her fist as Briscoe zinged the ball inside to a cutting Kellner for a lay-in a half a tick before the buzzer.

Up 13-11 heading into the second, Coupeville started to have more trouble stringing together baskets and fell behind midway through the quarter.

Another nothing-but-net trey from Kellner pulled the Wolves to within 21-20, but the Tarriers used a 5-2 run to take a four-point lead in at the half.

As close as the first half was, the third quarter was a disaster in almost every way.

With CWA inflicting major damage on the boards, shoving the younger Wolves out of their way on almost every play, and being allowed to do it, the Tarriers stretched their lead out to 15.

14 of Charles Wright’s 21 points in the third came via rebound put-backs, and they also dropped in several free-throws, something the Wolves never had a chance to match.

Coupeville shot just one free throw on the night — and missed it — while the Tarriers successfully banked home 13.

The lone bright spot in the third was Littlejohn, who started taking the ball right at the hoop, throwing down runners on four consecutive Wolf possessions.

As the fourth quarter began, with things bleak, CHS coach David King challenged his players, daring them to step up and show some grit.

And they almost pulled off a miracle.

Finally showing the rough-house style they are capable of playing, the Wolves held Charles Wright without a field goal in the fourth, slashing the lead all the way down to 50-48 with 46 seconds to play.

A 14-3 run that started with a Littlejohn three-ball ended with a Kellner trey and the Tarriers finally seemed to be cracking.

Coupeville, with all five girls firing at top gear, came within a sliver of forcing a shot clock violation on the next possession, only to have two fluky moments blunt the superior effort.

First, CWA got the shot off, with the ball leaving the shooter’s fingertips right before the buzzer, and, when the shot hit the iron, it took a weird bounce and shot straight down to the floor, where the Tarriers snatched it back away.

Forced to foul, Coupeville needed Charles Wright to miss at least one of the free throws. Which it did.

But, once again, the Tarriers found a way to corral the rebound, absorb another foul and hit one last free throw.

In the end, the Wolves, after fighting back so intensely, were never able to take a shot themselves over the final 46.5 seconds, an agonizing way to end a gutsy comeback.

Stone led Coupeville with 20 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.

Heading into Friday, she has 388 points in 20 games (19.4 per game), which gives her the third-best single-season scoring total in Wolf girls hoops history.

Kellner knocked down 13 while Littlejohn popped for 11 and dealt out six assists. Lauren Grove and Lindsey Roberts each added a bucket during the fourth-quarter rally.

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Vote "A" for the immortal Mr. Ed.

Vote “A” for the immortal Mr. Ed.

Vote "B" for The Dark Overlord.

Vote “B” for The Dark Overlord.

Vote "C" for "Little Help? Guys? Guys..."

Vote “C” for “Little Help? Guys? Guys…”

Vote "D" for "Future Camera Breaker."

  Vote “D” for “I saw Hoosiers … once. I would have called the kid for traveling and waved off the game-winning basket just to see folks cry.”

Vote "E" for

   Vote “E” for “The Final Word.” Cause give her credit, she never, ever, ever, EVER backs down.

Who do you fear?

In Coupeville that’s a complicated question, as least when it comes to high school basketball referees.

Cause we fear them all.

Over the past couple of seasons, refs have trod a painful path of tears across the CHS gym court.

We’re not talking a trivial call here or there, but night after night of a sustained, gut-wrenching, game-blowing, gym-fleeing-in-record-time body of work.

And, while it’s been slightly better this season (no one has allowed a visiting player to remain in the game AFTER throwing a punch at a Wolf player’s head a foot away from a ref this year, so that’s a start), there’s still enough to allow us to merrily grumble.

And yes, I’m sure these refs — with maybe one exception — are good, upstanding folks who take way too much crap for what they’re earning.

There’s even a couple of really solid men and women on the job, again putting up with our crap. We see them far too infrequently.

But we have become so scarred here in Cow Town, by on-court actions and back-room whisperings, that I doubt there is a single die-hard fan who doesn’t immediately lock on to the ref crew when it appears in the gym doorway.

Sometimes there are sighs, sometimes agonized screams of “Sweet Lord in Heaven, they’re still lettin’ Mr. Ed out without his seeing-eye dog?!!?!?”

So, let’s play a little game.

From the photos assembled above, cast your votes for which ref you absolutely, positively hate to see darken our gym.

Vote early, vote often. Work out your aggression in a constructive manner.

The poll is open for 48 hours (closes 10 PM Christmas Eve) and there are no limits on how often you vote.

Let the dark side flow from you, my sons and daughters of Wolf Nation and emerge into the rest of basketball season cleansed.

Unless they see this and get really, really pissed and … oh, yeah, the whole seeing-eye dog thing. I think we’re safe.

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Aaron Trumbull (John Fisken photo)

Aaron Trumbull sports a new look. (John Fisken photo)

After years of dealing with refs, Aaron Trumbull has become one.

The Coupeville High School senior, who will be returning to lead Wolf basketball and baseball squads during the 2014-2015 high school year, is also moonlighting on the other side of the whistle.

Trumbull made his debut in black and white stripes during a youth football jamboree Saturday, and will be reffing Peewee through 8th grade games this football season.

“He was asked by Tim O’ Brien during legion ball. Tim’s the head ref,” said mom Shelli Trumbull. “Tim said it was a skill he could learn now and continue to work through college.

“He’s having fun and learning a new skill,” she added. “The other side of the game.”

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