13 December 2011
Hey basketball world…
This weekend my team got the much-needed win on the road against Dexia Mons, another Eurocup team from Belgium.
There is now just three games left before our Christmas break and hopefully Coach Gjergja will give us time off so everyone can spend some time with their families during the holidays. Especially those American-import players around the league -- Sean Singletary, AJ Slaughter, Ahmad Nivins, Warren Carter, Justin Cage, Ronell Taylor, and my teammates Kennedy Winston and Chris Booker.
Being so far from home almost all year, they would benefit from a trip home.
I remember how hard it was on American-import players when in Italy or Spain the league did not have any break and we played just through Christmas and New Year's as if nothing happened.
Last night I was fortunate to speak to a group of local federation of football/soccer referees in Oostende, Belgium. There were about 30 referees from all kinds of levels -- top level to youth referees. It started as a monologue of myself talking about my career in professional basketball and the sacrifices and the satisfaction of winning, but eventually it turned into a quite an interesting debate about refereeing as a profession.
It's a hell of a job, but someone has to do it.
I've always put some thought into the referee-player relationship because good refereeing makes our beloved game even a better product. I ended up describing the “three C's”: Consistency, Communication, Coaching.
A consistent referee with authority is a blessing, even if he is not the best. Just like a player – you know what to expect because they are consistent. But compromising calls becomes confusing for everyone, the crowd included, and then things get out of hand quite easily.
As a vet I think that I should be able to communicate with a referee during the game at all times, in a respectful way of course.
Explaining calls has always worked well for me, even if I didn't always agree. Threatening players however with technical fouls right away if a player speaks up is the same as flashing a red rag to a bull.
Teams have coaches. The same way referees should have coaches. A person that you respect and that makes you look in the mirror, that confronts you with your mistakes, but that also gives you a pat on the back after a good performance.
In the end we all want the same thing: to have a good game. Let me try to keep that in mind next time I go ballistic.
On a personal basis, I am looking forward to next Monday and the doctor's check-up for my fractured foot. Hopefully he will take me off these crutches and let me start the rehab process that should get me in more or less decent shape by mid-January or so.
I so miss being on the court.
Oh, and by the way, have you heard? Mikhail Prokhorov, who I mentioned shortly in my previous column, is running for Russian President and going after Vladimir Putin.
Now, that's courageous.
He might be worth a full story next time.
Tomas Van Den Spiegel is a professional basketball player who has played around Europe for the past 16 years. Currently a center with BC Oostende in his native Belgium, Van Den Spiegel has spent time with Fortitudo Bologna, Virtus Roma, CSKA Moscow, Prokom Sopot, Azovmash Mariupol, Real Madrid and Olimpia Milano. A proud father of two children - Ana and Theo - Van Den Spiegel's "Big Man In Belgium" column is featured regularly on Beyond the Beat. You can follow him on Twitter at @tomasvds
|< Prev||Next >|