With his fresh white Nikes and a gleaming smile on his face, intramural sports referee Don McGee casually struts the hardwood basketball floor on a Monday night in early February.
He is in the middle of refereeing a blowout and just attempted a behind-the-back half-court shot during a timeout. His partner in stripes, Kasey Thomas, corrals the ball and feeds it back to him for another shot.
The horn sounds; it’s back to business, if you can call it that.
Don loves his job, most of the time. Once in awhile, he will get some fiery youngsters who take things a step too far, chirping back at him or getting in his face. But who could blame them? These are intramural sports we are talking about.
The point of the matter is simple: McGee likes a clean, fun game. And he is the first to admit that the actions and attitudes of the players have an effect on his game calls. After Monday night’s games, he was kind enough to sit down and talk about what makes him tick.
RM: Do the actions and attitudes of players have an effect on how you call the games?
DM: I would think so. I think the players who just let you referee, you tend to give them questionable calls.
RM: What’s the biggest no-no a player can do to get on your nerves, whether it be in a football or basketball game or something else?
DM: I think the biggest no-no is whining for a call that no one else on the floor or field saw. The soft foul – that’s when it’s bad, when my little son would’ve taken the hit.
RM: How much sucking up is too much sucking up?
DM: Can there be too much suckin’ up? I don’t think there’s too much suckin’ up. I think it’s the whining that’s annoying because you’re not getting the reaction that you want from the suckin’ up. I think that’s what’s annoying right there.
RM: What’s more frustrating? A team that plays too seriously or one that can’t play at all?
DM: I think it’s more frustrating to have that one player on the team who’s taking it too seriously – the dude who thinks he gets fouled on every shot he misses.
RM: Any other advice on winning your heart?
DM: Don’t forget to bring Kasey some Skittles.