Friday, January 28, 2011

The Beginning Of The End?

The year 2010 was a great year for me basketball wise.   I played in 52 official league basketball games over the course of the year.  In addition I squeezed in a lot of time playing with various friends throughout the course of the year.  2010 was highlighted by my Fall basketball league winning the league title, my first ever in over 8 years playing in the league.

After taking some time off between Christmas and the beginning of 2011, I resumed playing in a Thursday league that finished tonight.  Since I had not play extensively to start 2011,  I was a little out of shape and didn't play too well.

However, in recent weeks, I realized that age may be creeping up on me.  After officiating a rather intense basketball last Friday, my knees were quite sore.   I played basketball on both Saturday and Sunday and officiated yet another game on Monday.   My knees were hurting pretty badly.

I didn't do any strenuous activities for a couple of days before playing tonight.  I felt fine during warm ups but toward the end of the game, my right knee starting aching.  I finish the game just fine but the knee is still rather sore at the moment.

While it could age, it also could be my basketball shoes which took a lot of pounding through my 52 game season in 2010.  In either case, I realize I need to slow down a bit.  I have enjoyed a rather healthy run since 2007 (no serious injuries).  It's been quite fun and while I'd love to keep that up, I need to realize that your body can only take so much.

It's going to be hard to take it easy the next few weeks as I am officiating and have a couple of basketball leagues starting up.  However, I am going to get plenty of rest so my body can recover and try to avoid injury.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking Off My Referee Hat For A Moment........

Yesterday, I blogged about a very competitive game I officiated:

Never Judge A Game By It's Cover

Tonight, I am going to take off my referee hat and offer a different perspective.  Why?  Well, for people don't officiate basketball, they don't understand that officials are fans of basketball too.  We're not robots or some evil people that want to make one team or another team lose intentionally.

So tonight, instead of my officiating hat, I will put on my player and coaches hat instead.  I've played 19 years of adult league basketball and have a good understanding of what a player thinks while on the court.  I also coached CYO basketball for 14 years and have a good feel of the strategy and tactics that are involved during a game.

A brief recap of the game last night:  home team (2-10 overall) is playing the visiting team (11-5 overall) in a rivalry game.  In checking the stats online tonight, the home team throughly outplays the visiting team for the first three quarters and holds an 11 point lead entering the fourth quarter.  The visiting team doesn't give up and outscores the home team 27-10 in the fourth to win by 6 points.


As a player, I know that when you're the underdog team, you want to get in the first punch against a superior team.   The underdog team wants respect so they will come out hard and try to impose their will on the superior and more talented team early.  Think about the Warriors and some of their games against the Lakers and the Heat.  The Warriors came out like gang busters on a few occasions.

On the flip side, the superior and more talented team has likely been through these situations before.   They have confidence that no matter the situation, they always have a chance to win.  Sometimes, the superior team has to fight complacency.   They can't always let an underdog team take leads and expect to come back.   Think about the Lakers and Heat games against the Warriors.  The Warriors play well early and the Lakers / Heat played well late to win.  But the Lakers and Heat sometime falter and let a weaker team win (think Clippers games).

That was the key difference I saw between the home and visiting teams last night.  The visiting team had won a good number of games this season and had confidence that could execute down the stretch.  On the other hand, the home team faltered late as the visiting team turned up the pressure.

For both coaches, I'm sure there were some frustrations and things to be learned.  Let's jump into the coaches perspective next.


While I know the visiting coach from officiating his team's games during spring league, I have not seen him much during high school seasons.  For the home team, I did not know the coach at all.

The visiting team coach is fairly laid back though he rode his kids pretty hard when they fell behind.   On the other hand, the home team coach is intense and emotional.  She was thrilled when her team was winning but started to yell at the officials when the home team started to make their rally.  I think her players responded to her intensity.   One thing I won't comment is on both coaches tactical ability.  I don't remember that much of the game to judge their X's and O's.

From a coaches perspective, last night's game was lost when the visiting team made their rally.  The visitors went on a 10-0 run which I believed turned a 6 point deficit into a 4 point lead.  My partner and I were surprised that the home team coach DID NOT call a timeout during the run to try and break the momentum.

To me, that indicated some inexperience on the part of the coach.  No matter if you're a player, referee and especially if you're a coach, you should be aware of the flow of the game.   As referees, the flow of the game is important because we need to be aware of taking care of situations.  As a player, you should be aware of the flow (especially if the flow is not good for your team) and settle the team down if needed.   That's why a good point guard is very important for any team.

However,  out of all the parties, only the coach has the full power to completely stop the flow of the game by calling a timeout.  Yes, one can argue that players can call timeouts as well but it's usually when coaches tell them to call it.

For the game last night, I think the home team players did the best they could to keep the game from going out of control.   However, when the visiting team made their run, it was obvious the home team players were rattled.  Unfortunately, the coach did not call timeout until they fell behind and that hurt their chances.

Note that is is not meant to criticize the home team coach.   I used to be a screamer and yeller in my early years as a CYO coach.  Unfortunately, that only takes you so far.  The home team players seem to respect their coach and she seemed to be able to make adjustments.  Hopefully, the home team coach can learn to channel her energy but also be more aware of game situations.

All in all, it was a great game.  I hope the players and coaches enjoyed it as much as I did.   Yet, there were some lessons to be learned and I hope both teams learned their lessons well for the rest of the season.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Other Side Of Me

If you were to ask my friends who I play basketball with the following question, you would likely get some varied responses:

"How is coach41 on the court?"

  1. Focused
  2. Good mid-range shooter
  3. Doesn't play defense (a bit of an exaggeration!)  
  4. Plays with good fundamentals
  5. Pretty good team player
  6. Occasional ball hog!   Yes, when I get frustrated, I sometimes put up a few shots without passing.
All of this is true.  When I play with people I know, I go out there, play the game and enjoy myself.  I know how most of my friends play and I just adapt myself to how the flow of the game is going.   The negatives associated with me is usually with how I play the game than how I act on the court.  

However, I've noticed an interesting aspect of my personality surface in the past 3 months.  It started when I joined up with some guys I know to play in Sunday Open (non-Asian) basketball league last year and has continued on to a Thursday Intermediate Open (again, non-Asian) basketball league that is finishing up in a couple of weeks. 

In these couple of leagues, there was a lot of trash talking, players on the other team playing dirty and other people just acting like jerks.   Not to say the usual leagues I play in doesn't have that.  However, there is a level of respect among the players and I typically remain above the fray if things if anything is directed to me in my regular leagues.  

However, in the two non-Asian leagues I've been playing in, I have switched gears.  I sense a lack of respect from some teams (my team hasn't won a game in the two seasons we have played).  Some of the players on the other teams also take things much too seriously to things I have done.   

What have I done?  I box out.  I get in people's faces on defense.  I'll even occasionally dish out a hard foul.  I'm also very vocal with my team.  As the oldest and probably most experience guy I my team, I am constantly talking to my guys on what to do.  

Some things that have happened:

  1. Toward the end of one game we were losing, I fouled a guy to make him shoot free throws.  I hung on to him to make sure he didn't fall.  The guy basically said:  "F***ing let me go".  I told the dude he should calm down.   I also said I wasn't gay and trying to cop a free feel on him or something.    
  2. In a more recent game, there was this guy who was just killing us on the perimeter.   My teammate wasn't doing a great job guarding him so I switched up on him.   I didn't let him out of my sight and I denied him the ball.  The guy did beat me back door on one play.  I tried to block the shot but the guy was like 3 inches taller than me so I think hit him in the head.  The guy cried to the referee that I punched him and swore at me.  Usually, I make sure players are ok after a hard foul.  In this case since the guy was classless, I ignored him and didn't say a word.  I noticed he didn't go to the basket anymore though.  He was probably afraid I would hit him again. 
  3. In a game last year, one guy commented to me that I couldn't play defense or box out by fronting him.  I told him that I could.  He said he was a referee.  I told him I was too.  We went back and forth for a while and I kept constantly talking to him before the other guy had to tell me to SHUT UP.  
  4. Tonight, there was a dude he did some crap to my teammate and swinging elbows when I tried to defend him on the post (he's 6'4" or something).   If he was going to freely swing, then so did I.  He bumped me so I bumped him back.  The guy was 100% jerk that didn't belong on the court.  
Interesting huh?   Is this the same coach41 my friends know?  I'm still the same guy but in a different arena.  When I'm with my friends, we all respect each other.   However, in these other leagues, guys don't know each other and want to earn respect and they'll do anything to get it.   It's perfectly fine if we play a clean game of basketball.  Alas, there are some hyper competitive people or people who just don't understand class and respect on the basketball court.  I have absolutely no respect for those people and will not hesitate to let them know.   A part of this may come from me officiating adult leagues.  As an official, I sometimes chirp back to players who complain about my calls.  

On a side note, my friends know I talk a lot.  Guess what?  Some teams/opponents now know that too when I engage them in an extended dialog.  I have a feeling some of them don't really like it.   Oh well.  I may seem to be your normal quiet Asian guy.  They learn that isn't the case quite quickly.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Living A Single's Life In A Married Person's World

I've been thinking about this for a while and it took some time to put my thoughts together.   With the marriage of another friend last year and another coming in the near future, it seems like the majority of my friends are married or getting married.    In looking around online today, I saw various articles on how single people interact with their married friends and vice versa.   It was interesting to read and I thought I would share some of my thoughts on things I've learned.


If you're the impatient type, then it will be difficult to deal with friends who are married.  I can't say I was the most patient type when I was younger but as I have aged (or matured), my patience has grown.  This also applies to the various situations involving married friends.  The simple fact is that married friends can't hang out as much as they used to.  Their significant other has a major say in things.  If there are kids, that also plays a factor in any plans you try to make.

When I was younger, I was a little impatient when friends didn't call back.  It was part immaturity and some selfishness.  However, a few years ago, this immaturity and selfishness blew up in my face.  It probably cost me a good friend when I had issues with the friend not calling me back.  

After this particular incident, my patience grew to the point where I am fairly laid back with my friends.  Instead of calling or emailing constantly and demanding attention, I reduced my volume of emails to next to nothing.  I called a few friends every now and then.  When they didn't call back right away, I just went on with life.


Related to patience, when I was young, I didn't do things on my own.  If there was nothing going on with friends, I tended to hang at home.  Maybe I slept in, watched TV or played some video games.  I still do all of those things if I am home.  However,  I've gone out to see movies by myself.  Obviously I like to write so I spend time blogging.  I'm doing some photography when I get the chance.  All in all, I'm spending time doing things instead of waiting for friends (especially the married ones) to initiate.

I have good friends around me but the realization is (again, especially for the married ones) they cannot be with me 24/7/365.  Since I am not attached or married, I might as well enjoy life while I can.  In not getting married sooner, I get to go out more and get everything out of my system before settling down.

The other things is I've made other friends and have other social groups to hang out with.  The unfortunate fact is that once you get married, your regular friends are less of a priority.   Not that married folks don't care about friends but with kids and other things, there is just less time.   I just use my activities as a springboard to meet and get to know other people.


There is a benefit to having so many married friends around even if I don't see them as often as I used to.  I get to observe their dealings with their significant others and kids (both good and bad) and learn from them.  No one is perfect so problems will occur and watching people handle their situations is a good learning experience.  Every marriage is unique so what happens to one couple may not happen to another.  However, it never hurts to see it up close and personal.

Hopefully, this is not taken in the wrong context but I've learned a lot about my friends prior to getting married as well.  I've seen their dealing in past relationships and even with their wives before they were married.   I'm pretty observant, more so than people realize and it fascinates me how relationships go.


I have to give credit to my friends, especially the married ones.   They are genuinely interested in my well being and there is a general wish that I find the right woman and get married.  To that extent, I appreciate their concern.   For the married folks, I believe it is because they are happy in their marriages and they want me to be happy as well.

However, because my married friends haven't been single in a LONG time, I think they forget how it is to be a single person.   I did wonder for a long time when I would get married.  Maybe I was getting too old and I couldn't find someone.  I think a lot of singles go through that.  You see people being happy together and wonder why you can't share in that.

Well, I've learned that you have to be happy, regardless if you're in a relationship or by yourself.  I'll still go through my phases of ups and downs.  Yet, I believe I am content with my life and where it is headed.  There are always things to be improved but overall, I like where I am.

However, if you are unhappy, you can't expect a woman (or anyone) to fix that.  Any person in your life should complement what you have and not fill in anything missing in your life.

Overall, single folks sometimes are looked at oddly.  I've learned to get past that and just take care of my own business.  When the right time (and woman) comes along, I will be ready to join the ranks of the married.  Until then, I roll on with whatever life throws at me and enjoy it every step of the way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Back To The Basics / Building A Strong Foundation

Back from the land of Virginia and enjoying home!  I am so glad to be back that I officiated a basketball game 6 hours after I landed yesterday and two more today (more on officiating in my other blog).

While my trip to Virginia was fun (seeing various people I don't see often), there was a lot of information that I learned.  Most of this was work related and really not applicable to be shared in my personal blog.

However, there was one thing that I could share with people.  During my meetings with my Sales Engineering team Thursday, we were asked to share one bad and one good thing that occurred during the 2010 year and what we learned from the each of them.

While most of my co-workers shared incidents that occurred with customers, I shared the struggles I had at work that started in April.   There were complaints about my job performance and that led to some discussions with my manager.  The result was that I was put on a development plan to work on improving.

That was quite a challenging time for me.   It's never fun to be told that you aren't doing your job.  I took it pretty hard and didn't know exactly what I was going to do.  

After coming to terms with the situation, I dug in and followed the development plan the best that I could.   I studied my company's products and services to as much detail as I could.  I took online courses on communication, listening and other skills.  I listed to my fellow teammates on their calls.   Nine months later, things have quieted down.  My managed indicated there were no further complaints that he was aware of.

The point in all of this?  In everything we do in life, a strong foundation is needed.  For my work situation, going back to the basics helped me build a stronger foundation for me to do my job.  This was NOT my ideal situation but yet it was what I needed.

In the future, if you run into any struggles personally or professionally, try going back to the basics.   Somethings things aren't as complicated as they seem and focusing on the basic things will get you back on the path you are trying to go.   If you don't have a strong foundation, then going back to the basics will also be helpful as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Live from Virginia

Alright, it's past midnight here in Virginia and I have a flight in 8 hours to come back to the Bay Area.  However, I couldn't resist the opportunity to blog from out of town.  I've been in Virginia since Sunday for business and looking forward to getting home tomorrow.

Overall, the trip went well.  I saw the other folks on my team and met a few other people from other groups that I didn't see before.  It was a good time though there was still work to be done.

I'll leave you off with some pictures I took while in Virginia:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Appreciate Life And People Are You NOW!

This one will be brief!  I found out today that a local boy's varsity basketball coach had suddenly passed away yesterday at the age of 50.  While I didn't know the coach that well, I had seen him around when I officiated or spectated high school basketball games around the area.

All in all, the point is we all need to appreciate life and the people around this.   You never know when it's your time to go.  Even though I didn't know the coach that well, I feel sadness for the family, friends and players he leaves behind.