Tag Archives: official

Arguing With Yourself

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Arguing with game officials is as American as apple pie. In the 1950’s “Kill the Umpire” was released. This comedy follows ex ball player Bill Johnson who, after losing various jobs in favor of watching baseball games, decides to become an umpire. A person he considers the “lowest of the low” (www.imbd.com). In multiple scenes, brawls break out on field because of his unpopular calls. It takes the blessing of a respected player to calm the fans down until Bill makes another unpopular call.

Play Count the Veins in Coaches Head

Play Count the Veins in Coaches Head

Old movies aside, my few years as a zebra bring me to two conclusions. One, I am going to make 50% of the fans angry 100% of the time. Two, coaches who argue with me never get the call reversed or changed. How well could a game progress if every call was overturned because a coach was unhappy about it? We would spend more time talking than the players would play! Still, there are a few things coaches can do to get their point across to an official, but first we need to go over when you can debate a call:

  1. Judgement Call – Rule 7.13.1 firmly states that “the head coach may not debate a judgment call” (NFHS rulebook). This means if the referee felt the hit was unnecessary then the hit was unnecessary. No debate may take place in these situations.
  2. Misapplication of Rule – If a head coach believes an official misapplied the rule he may call for a 7-13 conference. During this conference the head coach asks for clarification on how the rule was applied. For instance, an official calls a slash on the opposing team and reports the penalty as a 30-second foul. The head coach of the fouled team should request a 7-13 conference and ask the official, “Sir, a slash is a personal foul and I believe that is a 1-minute penalty, and not a 30-second penalty.”

Now that we covered those scenarios lets dive into some Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Don’t
    • Call an official “you.” I’m serious “you” is the ultimate no-no when addressing an official. For example, “you are absolutely terrible.” Compared to: “Mr. Official you are terrible today.” The second version expresses your point in a way that respects the official’s position on the field.
    • Curse. There is no place for cursing in lacrosse, especially youth lacrosse. Review the language post for more info on this subject.
    • Run onto the field of play. Coaches remain in the coaching box for the duration of the game. The playing field is the domain of the players and officials only.
    • Complain about a barely there ward, moving pick, or push. All you do is prove to the official that you are more interested in getting one tiny call that is insignificant when viewed from the perspective of an entire game. If the official does not call the small stuff he is doing it for both teams. I assure you.
    • Attack the official’s integrity. How would you like it if I swung by your office tomorrow afternoon and berated your personal failings as a human being in front of your co-workers? Leave the personal attacks at home and focus on their performance only.
    • Lastly, when your team is up by ten goals you no longer get to complain about anything other than a safety issue.
  • Do
    • Call the guy in stripes “Mr. Official, sir, or Mr. Last Name.”
    • Politely phrase all your comments. For instance, “Mr. Official can you explain why that call was made?” Compared to: “Get over here right now and explain how in the world you made that call.”
    • Calm your assistant coaches down. Rule 2.3.1. states that “only the head coach will communicate with the officials” (NFHS rulebook). Most officials will answer questions posed by the assistant coaches, but as far as the rules are concerned the assistant coaches have zero right to enter into an argument/debate with an official.
    • Wait 24 hours and submit questions, complaints, or concerns to rules@ayllax.com.

Even if you follow all of the do’s and don’ts, you will still run into an official who will not change his mind. Take solace in the fact that he will not change his mind for the other coach either. Recognize this situation early and you can avoid arguing with yourself for the entire game.

Casey at Bat

Casey at Bat

Still don’t believe that arguing with officials is as American as apple pie? In 1888, Ernest Thayer wrote “Casey at Bat.” I read this poem back in elementary school and I am amazed at how the fans are portrayed. Read the poem and enjoy some nostalgia.

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning left to play;
And then, when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go, in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which “springs eternal in the human breast;”
They thought, If only Casey could but get a whack at that,
We’d put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn procede Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a no-good and the latter was a fake;
So, upon that stricken multitude grim meloncholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball,
And when the dust had lifted and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second, and Flynn a-huggin’ third.

Then from five thousand throats and more threr rose a lusty yell,
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell,
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face,
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the croud could doubt `twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tounges applauded as he wiped them on his shirt.
Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there,
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped —
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him; kill the umpire!” shouted someone from the stand;–
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud,” cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered “Fraud,”
But one scornful look from Casey, and the multitude was awed.
The saw his face grow stern and cold; they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip; his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh! somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has Struck Out.

Are you as amazed as I am that a poem read to children has the message “kill the umpire” embedded in the text? The best part about the poem is that Mighty Casey never argued the call. Despite striking out, he was still a great sport about it.

Featured Image Credit – www.masnsports.com

Your Out!

Keep it in the Box!

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Rule 3, Section 3 – Final Two Minutes of Play

  • “During the final two minutes of regulation play, stalling rules will be in effect. The team that is ahead will be warned to ‘keep it in’ once the ball has been brought into its respective goal area.”

This Spring, we are fortunate in having a number of close, competitive games. Many of these games are ending with a two or one goal advantage for the other team. Because of these close games, “keeping it in the box” is becoming more and more important for both teams. This post will hopefully eliminate any confusion or ambiguity regarding the final two minutes of play for AYL games.

Below is the breakdown of advancement rules for each age group. The blue line focuses on the final two minutes of play. 1-4th graders are not required to keep the ball in the box during the final two minutes. However, 5-8th graders are required to do so if their team is leading during the final two minutes.

  • 7/8 Grade –
    • 10-second offensive count
    • 20-second defensive clearing count
    • 4-second goalie crease count
    • Last two minutes – leading team keeps ball in the box
  • 5/6 Grade –
    • 10-second offensive count
    • 20-second defensive clearing count
    • 4-second goalie crease count
    • Last two minutes – leading team keeps ball in the box
  • 3/4 Grade –
    • No offensive 10-second count will be used.
    • No defensive 20-second clearing count will be used
    • 4-second goalie crease count will be used
    • Last two minutes – no keeping it in the box for either team

That covers what the AYL age groups do, but what is “keep it in” exactly?

In years past, a leading team would give the ball to their fastest player and had them run around their offensive half of the field until the clock ran out. While that strategy was effective, it was incredibly boring to watch. Imagine how much fun it is watching one player run back and forth around a space that is 50 yards long and 60 yards wide, while the entire defense tries desperately to catch up. Ask Coach Lou. He was the fast attackman that was told to run away from the defense whenever his team was leading with two minutes left to go.

Rule 3, Section 3 is designed to correct the above situation, and give the losing team an opportunity to check the ball away and score. When a team is ahead by any amount of goals and the clock hits 2:00 minutes in the fourth quarter. That team is required to keep the ball in the box as soon as they step the ball into the box. If they ball leaves the box, and the leading team touched it last, the whistle is blown, and the ball is awarded to the losing team. The exception is on a shot. Where whichever team is closest to the ball gets the ball.

Stall Signal - NFHS Rulebook pg.84

Stall Signal - NFHS Rulebook pg.84

As soon as the leading team brings the ball into the box, the officials will yell “Keep it in,” and display the stalling signal for everyone to say. It is the responsibility of the leading team to know that once they step into the box, they may not step out of it.




The diagram below illustrates where players must keep the ball in if they are leading during the last two minutes of the game:

Box It

Box It

If anyone is still unclear about “keeping it in the box,” please comment below. Or, you may email me at rules@ayllax.com.

Featured Image Credit – www.flickr.com


RefCam – Braveheart

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We finally had great weather for lacrosse games today, and what a great set of games to start us off!

The first two games of the day ended in a Braveheart, which is an overtime alternative. Two players from each team take the field, a goalkeeper and a midfielder. The two middies face off and go one-on-one, full field until one scores. Whoever scores first wins the game for their team.

The video below is a project I am really excited about unveiling: RefCam! RefCam allows players and fans to see the game from the official’s perspective. So today, you are right in the thick of the Braveheart action! To see the video at the highest quality, please select 720p from the video menu below.

Thanks to all of the players and coaches who fought hard. You guys made it an awesome day, bring it again next weekend!