For Love of The Game:

They hear no evil, but hustle to spot it

Sat, Feb 16, 2008 (2 a.m.)

Scream all you want, sports fans, but you’re not going to get to the officials. At least not Emma Major-Hassinger.

“I don’t really hear the people in the stands because I’ve got my 94-50 to worry about — 94-50, that’s my main concern,” she said, referring to the court’s dimensions. “I don’t have any friends out there. I only have three friends out there, and we’re on the floor.”

As a player on UNLV’s first women’s team and a former high school coach, Major-Hassinger has seen the game from all angles. “When I played it, I was always wondering why the ref wouldn’t be in the right spot. When I coached it, I always wanted the referee to be in the right spot. Now with me doing it, I have to be in that right spot and I work my hardest to get to that spot so I can make the correct call.”

And sometimes that can mean not making the call, such as during the Sunrise Regional semifinal game between Silverado and Tech. “I think we did a good job officiating tonight, letting the girls play and letting them decide the game. I’d hear people yell, ‘Isn’t that a foul?’ Well, it could have been, but we let them play,” she said.

“You can’t have rabbit ears, you can’t be sensitive and you can’t get emotional. You have to have thick skin to be an official, and being a woman, you have to have thicker skin,” Major-Hassinger said. “But when we hit the floor and that ball goes up, we are all just referees.”

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