Another water polo showdown for Gunn, Paly boys

While the SCVAL De Anza Division won't be decided, the outcome of Thursday's showdown between rivals Palo Alto and Gunn should go a long way in deciding this season's regular-season champion in boys' water polo.

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— Palo Alto Online Sports


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Posted by Barbara Schroder
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 10, 2013 at 7:42 am

Hats off to the Coaching excellence of Brandon and Matt Johnson leading Paly and Gunn to the top of the league in Boys' Water polo. Their younger brother Aaron coaches the F/S team at Paly and that team is undefeated in league play too! What an asset to have these talented coaching brothers in our PAUSD Water Polo community. Go Vikes!

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

Congrats to Gunn no the 2nd league win over Paly.

But what the heck is going on with the G coach? 2nd red card in two weeks! I think that makes him ineligible to coach the team for the remainder of the season. And three players (2Paly, 1 Gunn) also ejected from the game.

Must have been quite a scene to witness.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

Typo... "no" s/b "on"

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Posted by Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2013 at 12:27 am

What happened was terrible referees, CPD. As I said before, the officials are whimsical and do not know the rules of water polo. This is the result. The league owes these fine players better than that. The three Johnson brothers are fine coaches. Oh, and please don't suggest again that I become a ref. Although I certainly know a bad one when I see one, I am the first to admit that I would not be a good ref myself. My eyesight is not good enough. However, I do a lot of work on behalf of students in this town, and I strive every day to be fair and impartial, unlike the water polo referees in this league. They are a disgrace to referees.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I wasn't there so I can't comment on the refs or anyone else's behavior since I did not see it first hand. However I do know who the two refs were - one is considered in the top 5 and the other in the top 10 for CCS. Given your opinion and in light of how you feel about the refs in this last game, I have to wonder if you think any ref is good enough.

I have to admit that I don't understand your criticism as Gunn won the game.

What rules did the referees not properly enforce? I'd be interested to know the details here.

I am assuming that the Gunn coach received a yellow card before the red card. Did the coach follow the rules that apply to him after receiving the yellow? After a yellow, he has to stay seated during play (CCS rule) and he can't say *anything* to the refs except ask for a timeout. If he made any sort of critical comment to either referee after getting his yellow, it's automatic red.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

CPD, Believe it or not, just because a team I might be rooting for wins, that does not mean I assume the referee did a good job. Being a good official is not about making one or another team win. In a game with good referees, the game will proceed with fair calls; players and coaches will play within the limits of the rules because if they step outside of them, they expect to be reined in by the officials. When this happens, the players are relatively safe, and the team that plays better will most often win. A game in which bad behavior is rewarded, and skilled play punished, will quickly devolve into a free for all. In this particular instance, the coach was seated, was speaking in a calm voice to his players, and was red carded. If these are the best referees available, as I have suggested, the players deserve better ones.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm

I've seen the incident report. The coach made comments to the referee. Further, in a meeting between the Gunn AD and the referees after the game - the AD acknowledged and did not dispute the incident/comments that caused the red card. If you were in the stands, I would say its highly probable that you didn't hear what the coach said to the ref. Doesn't matter really. It happened and the Gunn AD supports that fact.

But you should be happy to know that the league commissioner rescinded the red card "because he didn't curse." Never mind what the rulebook defines as a red card offense. This is not going over well with many of those involved in water polo.

I don't think the coach should have been suspended for the remainder of the season. But the standard 1 game suspension should have been enforced. This sends a bad message to all involved.

I'm still interested in any details of what wasn't fair and any rules were not enforced correctly. I don't know you at all - but it is not uncommon for a parent not to know the rule versus what they see in the water as fair. Not saying that is your situation, just my experience.

Serious question - have you had any referees that you approve of? Who/when?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

CPD, I'm surprised by your tone. We'll have to agree to disagree. You reminded me that I am in the minority in wanting fairness, rather than simply for my side to win, whether they deserve it or not. Unlike you, I actually want players to do their best and be rewarded for that. Here is the problem as I see it: If a referee performs badly for what ever reason, there is no procedure for filing a complaint. If one does, the team will face retaliation in the game. If anyone should take issue with a referee, no matter how egregious their calls, others will assume it is the person with the issue who does not know the rules, or is simply seeking an advantage - both of which you have suggested I am doing here. This creates the Catch-22 in the current situation. Poor quality and biased referees go unchecked. Again, the players deserve quality, fair, consistent referees. I do know the rules. I also know that they are subjective in water polo. One man's brutality is another's no big deal - and a referee may use this to direct the outcome of a game. In this climate, players learn nothing useful. I have seen excellent referees. The one at the Gunn Paly game, who did not red card the coach, is one of the best in this area. That makes it even more surprising that he was involved. In fact, when teams from this area travel to Southern California, they are often at a disadvantage as the referees down there tend to be more consistent, and to know the game better. Rather than continue this dialogue with you, I will look for a way to promote better officiating in water polo. I do appreciate your putting your views out there. It helps me to understand the problem.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2013 at 9:33 pm


I guess my only other thought is that I think you may have unrealistic expectations of HS level officials. I'd be of one of the first people to say (out loud) is that HS officiating is not going be very good.

What you want is a 4-year college level official. There are only 6 or so college refs in the Bay Area. That's just not going to happen very often, if at all. Sorry.

And I would also offer that you may interpret as biased is more than likely a result of aptitude and ability. Nothing more, nothing less.

Good luck for the rest of the season.

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