My daughter had a scrimmage basketball game last Saturday. The dad of one of my daughter's teammates is a certified ref and offered to officiate the game. He is used to refereeing with another ref so he approached the stands and asked the other dads to take the other referee spot. I was volunteered by the other dads because I was wearing a referee like white golf shirt with black horizontal pinstripes. I could not argue. Heck, I had been refereeing games from the stands for years, how hard can it be.
I found that it is much easier to referee from the stands.
The first challenge is to be in the right position. The referees movements are almost choreographed. They move fluidly together. I never paid much attention to the refs movements before. In the beginning of the game, the real ref was constantly telling me were to be. I found myself paying more attention to where I was positioned and not paying close attention to the action on the court. Eventually the positioning around the court became intuitive and when it did I was better able to concentrated on the game.
The second challenge was calling fouls. I could see them, but I had trouble blowing the whistle in a timely manner. I see the foul. I think to myself what a hack job that was. The play continues. I realize I am the ref. I reach for the whistle then decide that it is too late to call the foul. The ref told me that that is a common issue with new refs.
The third challenge was not rooting for my daughter. I was running the court with the teams and watching my daughter do her thing as the point guard. Several times I had to restrain myself from yelling instructions to her like "watch your back" or "Rachel is open" etc.
My daughter's team won the game 15 to 9. CC had 4 points and 3 assists. Most importantly, my refereeing had no impact on the game result.
The Main Point
Refereeing from the stands is easy. Refereeing on the court is not.