I Married Darth Vader

When my husband became a basketball ref, he went over to the Dark Side

For most of our 30 years together, my husband was a decent man. That all ended when he decided to supplement his income by becoming a PIAA basketball referee. Where he and I had once watched Sixers games in perfect simpatico, from that moment on, the worm had turned. It wasn’t just his grumbling that Allen Iverson was palming the ball. It was a fundamental shift in his mind-set, from us-against-them to I-like-stripes.

Everybody knows referees are idiots. I mean, they miss so many obvious fouls! They make so many lousy calls! They can’t see that it’s clear as day who touched the ball last—the guy who isn’t in a Sixers uniform! Referees don’t call games; they steal games. Doug used to understand this. We used to be united in our scorn for those pompous dirtbags with the whistles round their necks.

But for some reason, a bunch of clinics and a few meetings and tests have curdled my husband’s thinking. Can you imagine how infuriating it is to sit on the sofa beside someone who nods approvingly when Thaddeus Young is whistled for a block and says, “That’s the right call”? To be asked to get a beer while I’m up for a guy who can’t comprehend that it’s always a three-point shot? (No, his foot was not on the line!) To cook dinner night after night for a Judas who’s too thick to comprehend that our team never throws elbows, goaltends, steps out of bounds or deserves to be teed up? To share a bank account with an imbecile incapable of counting how many steps Iggy takes on his way to the rim?

And you know what? He’s proud to be a turncoat. He flaunts his admiration for his fellow zebras. As God is my witness, he once told me: “Sometimes I forget to watch the game and just watch the referees.” This is the sort of lunatic they hand the reins to! I’m telling you, if I didn’t need him to keep explaining the defensive three-second rule, I’d divorce the moron. As it is, I’m just hoping we make it through March Madness for another year.