The Fillies battled Chippewa Valley Thursday amidst the arctic tundra that is now Macomb County. In all my years of coaching basketball, softball, baseball and football I have never experienced sportsmanship like I saw Thursday.
With the game close and the Lady 'Stangs closing in on the lead, CVHS 9th grade girls' basketball coach Jim Murphy demonstrated true sportsmanship. We were down by about six points with a couple of minutes left in the game. We set up some phenomenal play, throw the ball to the wing...bobble it...throw it back on top...bobble...back to the wing...bobble...gain control and shoot. Well, as the ball was in flight I began calling for a timeout because we needed to stop the clock. If we score the clock stops and we set up our full court press. If we miss we rebound and dunk. Well, we scored and the ref on the other side of the court blew his whistle to acknowledge my timeout. However, the ref nearest the ball overturned his decision and claimed I did not call for a timeout before the CV had the ball.
If you know anything about me, I don't argue calls or get stressed over the officials' decisions. What good will it do? The official has made her decision and my yelling at her wont' help. I need to model rational, mature behavior in times of stress. I see it as a lesson all my girls can witness and hopefully apply to life outside the court. "Man, coach never yells at the refs. He just moves on and coaches."
At this point I think the decision is wrong but tell my girls to match up defensively. There is commotion and confusion on the court and I'm trying to tell my girls that we need to match up because we have to get the ball back. That's when I heard another whistle.
My first thought was, this better not be a technical on me because I'm instructing my girls and ignoring the refs. It was no technical.
Jim Murphy, CV's coach took his last timeout so I could regroup my girls and instruct them. He had the ball, the lead and no more timeouts. That is sportsmanship. He recognized the error and wanted to make it right so he sacrificed his last timeout. We ended up losing the game but only after stealing the ball twice in the last fifteen seconds and nearly sent the game into overtime. By giving me his timeout, Murph also gave me an opportunity to win the game.
Unfortunately, the athletic arena is saturated with idiots who would rather be the show than coach the sport. Unfortunately, the bleachers hold biased, uninformed fans and parents who berate officials. Unfortunately, moments after hearing the MHSAA mantra on sportsmanship, some yahoo begins mocking that night's opponents' fans, cheerleaders, the opponents' bus drivers and in what is perceived as creative license - the opponents' toothpaste. Fortunately, I have been blessed with parents who cheer their daughters and let the officials call the game. Fortunately, there are coaches like Jim Murphy who model sportsmanship to the players and fans of both teams.
At the beginning of my timeout instructions, I made sure my girls knew what Murph just did. I profusely thanked him then and after the game. Fortunately, We play CV again next week so I'm going to see if I can get him 4 full timeouts for the game and then pay CV back for our last second defeat. :)