In January of 2012, I found myself in a game where all the rules had changed…at least for me. And despite what my parents probably thought was the case when I was a child, I actually like to know what the rules are…and I like for them to be consistent. I don’t generally abide by the Grace Murray Hopper quote, “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”
I like the rules to be clearly stated, and I like for them to be consistently enforced. And when rules are not consistent or consistently enforced, I find this to be a point of extreme frustration. Here’s just one example: The Transportation Security Administration, otherwise known as TSA, is one of those entities that has a set of rules applied to all people wanting to enter an airport. I mean, they are a government agency after all, so of course they have rules.
But the TSA has a problem, just like police officers, the NCAA, education administrators and probably more professions than I can name here. They each have a rule book and guidelines, but exceptions are made across all types of employees with all types of opinions, styles, personalities and judgment. And on top of that, the people who administer the rules are asked to apply some level of common sense, which inevitably allows for inconsistency and variance.
Since I hop on a plane every few days, I see the inconsistency in the TSA. I am not frustrated that I have to pack all of my hair gels and sprays, my face lotions and makeup, and my mouthwash in 3 oz. bottles. I am not annoyed that I have to take off my shoes, scarf and coat…or remove my laptop. What does make me CRAZY insane is that when I go through a tiny airport (that will remain unnamed) in the middle of Montana, the TSA agent thinks that my travel sewing kit needle is unacceptable. Seriously? I mean it has been in the bag in the same container for the last 47 flights in 14 different states, but TODAY it is a harm to other passengers. Do you see the three frequent flyer program tags on my bag? Don’t ya think I know the rules on this stuff? I guess common sense isn’t all that common in this particular location.
Inconsistency. It’s the source of all frustration as far as I’m concerned. And I think all coaches would agree with this statement. Every year, officials hear that the biggest complaint from coaches to assignors is inconsistency of play calling. Last I checked, there are 3,333 Division I women’s basketball officials, and we all have different judgment, personalities, background and training. With the advances in technology, we have improved over the years (I will write a future blog post on our technology because that’s a whole other can of worms), but the reality is that basketball officiating requires split-second judgment, and no two plays are exactly the same. In a game, the three-person crew does their very best to give similar looking plays the same call to be consistent. If you’re a coach or spectator, have you ever thought, “Well it was a block on that end; it’s got to be a block on the other end too”?
So here are a few questions for you to think about as we explore the topic of consistency: Do you know what constitutes illegal defense? Do you know the rule? Do you know what determines whether the offense committed the crime (charge) or the defense (block)? Here is a video clip I’d like you to take a look at before you answer. Do you think this is a block or a charge, and why?
Leave your comments below.