Outrageous High School Sport Calls

Kortney Hepting, Staff Writer

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On January 4, many sport fans were furious with some calls professional referees made during the football game between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, ending in a Lions loss, 20-24. The Detroit Lions were leading and dominating for three of the four quarters, yet in the end lost the game because of, what many upset fans said, a game-changing call. Bad referee calls do not only happen in professional sports.

Lakeview High School sports can be very intense and serious. Just a couple of seconds can change a game with fouls or penalties.  In basketball, the referees are involved quite a bit and every second counts when it comes to a whistle being blown.

The JV boys basketball team was playing their last game of the last season in February 2014 against Michigan Collegiate. In the two last seconds of of the game Lakeview was down two and had to go down the entire court to tie or win the game.

Lakeview called a timeout, drew a play to throw about a three quarter of the court pass to  player, Hunter Brown, ‘16. As Brown caught the ball and threw a three point basket, which would win the game if he makes the shot, a defensive player comes across and slaps Brown on the arm. The referee blows the whistle for a foul with .3 seconds left on the clock.

This foul being made could give the Huskies three free throws, but the referee waves his hands and withdrew the foul call ending the game.  Hunter Brown ’16 said, “If we were given those three throws, I know I would’ve sunk those like Steve Nash. Plus we would’ve finished with a winning record rather than 500.” No free throws or victory was given, and the Huskies lost the game.

Coach Savalle also refereed for five years before he began coaching. In one game, Savalle was a referee for an eighth grade football game. He was the head ref, who signals the penalties and explains calls to coaches. He had two other officials working with him. “I was reffing with this older gentleman. He blew his whistle signaling the end of a play even though there was a ball that was clearly fumbled and being returned by the defense for a touchdown,” stated Savalle. This play would have ended up in a touchdown for the losing team, but the whistle was blown and the play was over without any way of rectifying the issue..

Varsity basketball coach, John Carr, has been through many questionable call situations. Last year in the districts, the state tournament a questionable call was made. “A lot of people including myself thought that one of our players got fouled throwing a three point basket at the end of the game; but the referee did not. The referees have the last call,” stated Coach Carr.

When it comes to tennis calling “wrong calls” can be difficult. Tennis is different from some high school sports because players make their own calls, meaning there are no referees on the side to make the calls.  It can be difficult to make calls based on the speed and placement of the tennis ball on the court.

“During my first few years coaching I would become very frustrated when players made incorrect calls. However, after coaching for four years I’ve realized mistakes are made. Even if there are calls intentionally called incorrect, there is nothing I can do as a coach. Players have to challenge their own calls,” said Varsity girls tennis coach, Coach Buckberry.

What some spectators, athletes, and coaches need to recognize is that officials are going to make errors. Everyone makes mistakes and some can and cannot be taken back to make them right.

Lakeview High School wrestling coach, Steve Nicholl feels, “There are always opportunities during a contest where a team or player can find success. If one feels that an official decided the outcome then I would argue that they did not capitalize on all the opportunities for success.”
Former lacrosse coach Nathan Maus has experienced a game changing call that does not happen often.  Offsides is when a players in past the other teams defense, yet the only time an offside call can be made is if the offside player impacts a play that is made.“We were on a fast break. we should have scored and won, but the ref called us offsides and that made us lose the game. The player that was offsides did not touch the ball once. So they gave the ball to the other team and they scored off that play,” said lacrosse coach, Maus.

In softball/ baseball the majority of the  game is based on how calls are made. “I’ve had plenty of experiences with umpires who have poor strike zones or poor accuracy when it comes to calling players “out” or “safe”,” stated softball coach, Sara DiBartolomeo. Accuracy in this sport is key, with the fast pace of the balls being thrown, there is a lot of room for error. “As a coach, you move on the best you can from poor calls, and keep your players motivated. The worst thing a coach can do for their team is dwell on poor calls,” states Coach DiBartolomeo .

Overall in every sport there are bad and good calls made favoring a team. In all levels of sports from professional to high school, calls happen helping or hurting a team. Some should realize that not all calls define a game, though many can be game changing.

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