Sunday, April 25, 2021

Touch Fouls

I coached basketball for a number of years, mostly on the high school level. Did a two-year stint at the college level as a graduate assistant, and even coached my daughter, Hannah, for her eighth grade travel team. Most years, I had success. Other years, not so much. Loved coaching except at the collegiate level, where I spent more time on the road scouting and recruiting than I did on the floor.

As a coach, you hope the game will be called fairly. You hope the officials will be consistent. You hope that if the officials call something on your team, they will call the same on the other team. You hope the officiating is not one-sided. Can’t say that always happened. I do believe there is such a thing as the home court advantage, and I do believe that a “winning” reputation has its perks when it comes to officials.

There were times when I was driven crazy by touch fouls, while the blatant knock down, elbow to the chest, back, or face was left uncalled. Typically, a touch foul was called up on the top where a guard would hand-check, sometimes hold the opposing player, while underneath there were body blows that wouldn’t be called.

As a coach, I was an equal opportunity screamer. It didn’t matter if I knew the official. It didn’t matter if I didn’t know the official. It didn’t matter if the official was young or old or somewhere in between. If I saw something that needed to be called, I would voice my opinion. Loudly. I will also admit that at times, I was obnoxious and annoying.

Now, I get the fact that officials are human. I do believe they do their best. There were some who, shall I say, needed better vision. And I have to admit that coaches are not always able to see both sides of a call or play. A coach wants his team to win. I never complained when my team received the benefit of the call. I might snicker without the official seeing me. I might raise my eyebrows at my assistants or players. But if the call went against us that was blatantly wrong (in my eyes), I let everyone on the court, in the gym, and perhaps the tri-state area know about it. As I said, I was loud.

I used to teach, coach, counsel my players to not give payback. By that I mean, if a player does something that might be a foul, such as an elbow, push, shove, extra hip, don’t retaliate. When that happens, the official, who didn’t see the original foul, will see the retaliation and they will call that. It hurts the player and it hurts the team. And, for a coach like me, it might cause me to lose my mind. 

When it comes to a playground game without officials, it is understood that there will be some non-calls. You can’t call everything. You play. You take your chances. For the most part, things come out even. Big things get called. Little things don’t. That’s the “rule” of playground hoops.

Such is life, I think.

All too often, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, teachers and principals, get caught up in calling the touch fouls- things that might not matter in the long run. A kid not putting dirty clothes in the hamper. A kid not closing dresser drawers or the closet door. A kid talking to the kid sitting next to him or her. Passing a note. Daydreaming. Sometimes, the big things are a result of too many called touch fouls. Nagging. Bickering. The “silent treatment.” And when that happens, life or the household or the classroom or the school building become toxic and unbearable.

I think if a touch foul is called in life, sometimes tone of voice, the timing, the setting can often times hurt the relationship more than help it. There is a way, a time, and a place for a gentle discussion on the hurts (the fouls) that occur. It doesn’t have to be at the top of one’s lungs. It can be a teaching moment- in the family, the classroom, the building, the workplace – whatever setting one is in.

I am opposed to letting so many “fouls” in life build up to the point where there is an explosion. It isn’t good for anyone. Sometimes, the “offender” might not realize what he or she is doing, so yes, it needs to be pointed out. (see paragraph above).

I am not against communication. Quite the opposite. However, sometimes I feel the way, the words, and the place are not appropriate. I think more can go wrong than go right. There becomes a tipping point between when to call the touch foul, where to call the touch foul, and how to call the touch foul, as much as determining “if” a touch foul actually needs to be called. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I am happy to announce that the Lives Trilogy and Prequel will be available May 25, 2021, with pre-orders available well before that. I edited, and in some cases, revised each book. I am pleased with the results. I am thankful to BRW for their continued belief in me and in my writing. I hope you will rediscover – or in some cases, discover – the Lives Trilogy and Prequel. 

Betrayed is a Maxy Award Finalist! I found out last week, and I am excited about that.

I Received another 5 Star Review for Betrayed!

BETRAYED by Joseph Lewis 5 stars
Awesome read, hard to put down. Fast moving, great story of a family who adopted several boys who had nowhere to go. Some were Navajo. A problem came up on the reservation and one boy's friend was missing. Strange, dangerous things were happening. Great read.

I have an author's website, in addition to my Facebook Author’s Page.
On it, I talk about writing. I introduce characters from my books, and I introduce readers to other authors. I also release snippets from those books. Mostly, it is my way of reaching out to you so that you get to know my author side of life. You can find it at:

Other ways you can connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Betrayed: A Maxy Award Finalist! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader's Ready Recommended Read Award Winner!
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is willing to talk. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the hunted.

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by 
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family.  

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, the FBI can protect him or his family. And he cannot protect himself or his family.                                           
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.     

Photo courtesy of Etienne Boulanger and Unsplash



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  2. Thank you for stopping by and giving my post a read. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.


Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe