Sunday, September 13, 2009

Official Fumble

I don't remember which position Dad played on the football team at Clay County High School in Ashland Alabama. I have a vague memory that it was offensive line. Years after his high school days, Dad would go back home to visit and would take in a game at his old alma mater. This is a story about one of those games that Dad liked to tell about.

There was a home game in Ashland years ago and they had a shortage of referees. In fact, they only had one and it was nearly time for the game to start. This was long before cell phones, it is possible that there wasn't even a land line at the stadium. So the poor lone referee was worried. As he considered his options the ref looked up in the stands and saw a friend sitting there that he knew to be a basketball referee.

The football ref called his friend down and asked him to run home, get his uniform, and help to officiate the game. The basketball ref protested by saying that he didn't know much about football rules. The football ref assured him that he wouldn't have to do much but be there to make it look good. So the basketball ref agreed and went to get his uniform. On his return, the game started.

The game went well - both teams traded the lead as each scored. At the end of the last quarter with only a few seconds to play the Clay County Panthers were ahead by two points and the visiting team got within field goal range. The visiting kicker lined up and did his best to score three points and win the game. The kick went up and toward the goalposts. Everyone waited in anticipation. When the ball passed the posts the basketball ref was near the endzone and called the kick no good. His buddy the football ref backed him up on the call.

The visiting stands were in an uproar as they disagreed with the call and let it be known. The Panthers celebrated their victory and of course agreed with the call. Eventually everyone calmed down and headed home.

In the lockers after the game the football ref asked his friend, "What was wrong with that field goal, it looked good to me?"

The basketball ref answered, "It was too high."

Moral of the story: Sometimes nothing is better than something.

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