Here's what I wish most of all for these NBA Finals, which begin tonight in Oklahoma City: can we please stop fixating on the officials?
Can we give that whole tired issue a rest?
Can we just enjoy this compelling matchup between the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder without whining about all the flopping, traveling, elbowing and offensive fouls the refs are supposedly missing?
Don't people ever get sick of blaming the refs whenever their team loses?
Sure, there have been a number of controversial calls in the NBA playoffs so far. But you want to know something? There are controversial calls in the NBA playoffs every year.
If you want to make someone like the Ageless Grumpy Buddha -- aka Joey Crawford -- the fall guy for your team’s futility, be my guest. But you’ll be swigging Mylanta like it's Diet Coke from all the stress you put on yourself.
The truth is: NBA games get harder and harder to officiate every year. The players get faster, stronger, more athletic. The pace of the game is now officially ridiculous. Union Rags, the Belmont winner, couldn’t keep up.
Yet for the most part, the referees get the vast majority of the calls right. They do a good job of letting the players play without letting the game get out of control. And in an era when the rules allow such excessive contact and players practically mug each other on every play, that’s no small feat.
Sure, you sit there on your couch, the remote in your Cheetos-stained fingers, and seethe when instant replay shows the officials blew a call against your team.
But the refs have to make instant decisions on scores of calls every night amid the howling chaos of a packed NBA arena, with millions of other fans watching from home.
And, again, the vast majority of the time, they make the right call.
So please, no more about the refs. It serves no purpose. It’s just a waste of everyone’s time.
Appreciate the games for what they are and for who’s playing in them -- not for who's in the striped shirts blowing the whistle.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun