Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"When the Whistle Blows"
By Salvador Gabor


Coach always told you....."Dont stop until the whistle blows". So even in the midst of that command, when we double dribble or step outta bounds, we stop. BUT, the whistle didn't blow. The ref didn't see it but, we feel guilty. We committed the foul or the turnover and yet we didn't keep going until the "whistle" blew. Some of us keep going after the "whistle" blows. We know that it's not a fumble but, we pick up the ball and run like there is no tomorrow. We took a few steps too many on the court and then we keep dribbling and when the "whistle" blows we look back as if we are shocked. It happens.

Most of us either stop before the "whistle" or after. NEVER WHEN the "whistle" blows. The ones who stop before or too cautious and the ones who stop way afterwards just have no regard for any rules. Well why do we need a "whistle"? It's a loud and distinct alarm that represents the interruption of end of play. Interruptions are due to acknowledgement of turnovers. They can also be for breaks and timeouts. Coaches have "whistles" for practices and referees have "whistles" during the actual playing of the game. But, the player never has a "whistle". He/she only responds to the sound of a "whistle" by beginning or ending their current play. In so many words, as a player, it's not your whistle to blow. You just better stop when it blows and don't stop until that point and don't run after that point.

Many of us tend to respond to the "whistle" in the wrong way. Some of us are stopping short of the "whistle". You may have made a mistake but that doesn't mean the ref is gonna blow the "whistle". The ref may just be calling a loose game. Just keep going hard and playing tough. You can't be a winner while playing uptight.

BUT, more of us are still roughin' it up after the play. The "Whistle" has blown and we are still pushing each other while the rest of the kids are lining up to go inside after recess. It's time for the play to be over. The "Whistle" is a sign that the "Fat Lady" has arrived and unfortunately, she has had plenty of lemon juice to hit that high note. We are hanging around clinging to dead situations. Just hoping that the ref will call that loose ball a fumble. Just hoping that you don't have to turn around and run back to the line of scrimmage and all that running you did after the play isn't in vein. Save yourself some air. Save yourself some time. Save yourself some embarrassment. Just stop when the "Whistle" blows.