You can tell that officiating is predominately a “guy-thing” for whatever reason. You can tell by just perusing the websites that sell basketball and football referee uniforms. If you’re a basketball ref you get the color choices of black, black or black for slacks and for your uniform shirt you can get either black and white striped shirt or white and black striped shirt. Socks you ask? Black. What about accessorizing with some spiffy shoes you query? Absolutely….just so long as they’re black (mine are black AND shiny, by the way). If officiating had more females we’d definitely have more color choices and a whole lot more style, which would be a good thing. Instead of just “black” we’d get “midnight black” or “onyx black” or some other stylish adjective instead. I’m just sayin’ that changing things up a bit wouldn’t kill us.
I had a successful rookie season last year. Practically the only rub against me was the fact that I wore a black belt, that drove the traditionalists crazy. I mean it. I’d come off of the court and I’d hear something like this; “Nice mechanics out there, you could have waited a little bit longer on those fouls…let the play develop you know…AND WHAT’S UP WITH THE BELT?” I’m dead serious. It was brought up throughout the season by more experienced officials who were there to critique me. I was brought up, reared persay, that when you wore blue jeans or slacks you wore a belt. I had three or four belts to choose from at all times growing up. Church? Absolutely a belt situation. Family dinner at grandma’s? Better wear a belt so that you’ll look nicer. School? Yeah…duh. Of course. So yeah…they’re trying to get forty-six years of belt-wearing Ripley to not wear a belt even though he’s running up and down a basketball court (I can just hear my Mother now…”why weren’t you wearing a belt? Your pants fell down because you weren’t wearing a belt. Do you need some money to go buy a belt? Kohl’s has many nice belts to choose from. I think that I still have one of your Father’s belts around here somewhere.”) The belt has become a bit of a comfort-thing for me now, so giving it up is uncomfortable.
There’s different ways officials hold up their britches without a belt…like wearing a pair of jogging shorts under their black slacks, or an “inside” type of belt that grabs the slacks from the inside (sounds kinda perverted…having something inside your slacks doing all of that grabbing but I kid you not…I have one and it works okay…but not as good as AN OUTSIDE BELT.) I’ve toyed with the idea of wearing suspenders with my uniform…the wide rainbow colored ones…just to make a point…but that wouldn’t go over well. To combat the loosey-goosey feeling that’s sure to encompass my waist this season I’ve purchased some 33″ waist slacks (in a stylish black gabardine with three inch waist and Western cut pockets. Yeah…I got the Western cut pockets to impress the ladies. Busted!!) I’ve been wearing 34″ waist dress slacks but I have a belt that I’ve been cinching up tight so since I’m going beltless or without the waist-snake as I call it (belt) I’m hoping the 33’s hold tight as I dash to and fro.
I also got some new tenner shoes ordered (for basketball of course)…shiny black just in case my 2012 models suffer a blowout from all of the heat that’s generated from my pant-legs swishing back and forth as I run. Last year in one game I generated enough static electricity with my pant-legs swishing that instead of giving a coach a technical foul I just touched him and in the process Tased him to the floor. “RED BALL OUTTA BOUNDS, RIIIIGGGHHHHTTT HERE!! Move off the court coach, or I’ll shock you again at quarter’s end.”
So anyway…if you see a partially balding male ref, with shiny shoes, western cut pockets who appears to be holding up his pants with his free hand while cursing under his breath this season…you’re probably looking at me. Resist the urge to hand me your belt.