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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, February 06, 2015

How "Keeping The Book" Nearly Got Me Killed at a Becahi Basketball Game

I was nearly lynched last night and hung from the rim of Bethlehem Catholic High School's gymnasium.  The people angry at me were not unruly fans or players from the Pottstown Trojans. It was my own team. You see, I was the scorekeeper for Bethlehem Catholic last night, and I screwed up. Not only did my mistake result in a technical foul with free throws and a loss of possession, but it also resulted in an innocent player getting ejected from the game. On his birthday. The only reason I am still alive is because the JVs won the game despite my blunder.

A few years ago, Coaches Craig Golden and Dom Italiani taught me how to "keep the book" That's how basketball fanatics refer to what a scorekeeper does, It's pretty easy. You basically keep a running score, individual scores, fouls and time-outs.

Some people are really good. Liberty's scorekeeper, for example,  can do the book, announce and keep track of assists, steals and rebounds, too. I think he even plays the bagpipe.

Bethlehem Catholic already has an excellent scorekeeper. He wears a striped shirt and everything. It would not fit me. I'm this guy's back-up. The "B" team. Most of the time, I just do the Junior Varsity games.

Though he denies it, I'm pretty sure Coach Corsi started asking me to keep the book so he doesn't have to hear me shouting from the stands. Scorekeepers have to keep their mouths shut during games. It;s a rule, like the striped shirt.

Last night, when Coach Corsi handed me the book, I refused to let him fill in the names. I like to fill in the team names on the page facing that team's bench, and told him to let a professional do it.. I filled in all the player names from a program I bought several weeks ago. Then I had a ref check it and signed his name.

I missed one frickin' name.

The scorekeepers on the other side were three cute senior girls from Pottstown with names like "Princess" I thought they'd have little to no interest, and would spend most of their time there texting their boyfriends. Turns out that all three are basketball fanatics who knew what was going on.

When the player I missed was substituted into the game, they nailed me.

"Mr.Official, Mr. Official, this player's name is not in the book and he is being substituted illegally."

At the end of a lengthy conference that involved waterboarding, appeals to the Supreme Court and Pope, the player was ejected and i was excommunicated.

No exception for his birthday.

Now Beca fans are usually very positive. They all bless themselves and pray before every game. They cheer kids who attempt 750' 3-pointers. "He just missed!" they'll tell the boys' mother.

But when I made a mistake that cost us possession, free throws and got an innocent kid ejected on his birthday, they expected me to commit seppuko. This is despite the Church's pro-life teachings. I'm pretty sure that Linc Treadwell, whose son Colby was having a hot game, was trying to get a death warrant from Judge Giordano. My grandson was assuring everyone that there's no biological relation and he hardly knows me.

Because the JVs won, and rather convincingly, I will live to keep the book another day. I do feel pretty bad about the young man who was ejected because of me. I'll make it up to him by giving him a framed and autographed picture of me.


Anonymous said...

I could think of no better gift !!!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. No good deed goes unpunished. I learned that between beatings (that I most assuredly deserved) at Catholic School. Keep up your volunteering with such good humor and go Dak!

Anonymous said...

Thanx Bernie,
Your story was halarious and the picture or book, you have out done yourself with this one¿
One perception of the reality is hell in public opinion¿

patent pending

Bill Coker said...


Had similar experience at Lafayette involving second half timeouts (I didn't mark the difference between first and second). However, my autographed photo did no good. By the way, coached Linc during his Lehigh Valley Comet days with his dad Barry as an associate coach. Believe me, either he or his brother could clean your clock. I am happy to see I'm not the only dummy on the planet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill, I was suspeneed tonight. But it was our last game. Now it is on to AAU. But I don't pay as close attention to that.