Me “Ok, I know there is nothing we can do about it, but who got my points last game?”
“Just out of curiosity. I know one of you got them.”
“We all count our points. We all saw the box score. I wish someone would give me extra points, it’s nothing to be ashamed of!”
I have had some version of that conversation several times throughout my career as a pro. I will get credited with less points than I deserved. Like I said before, it really bothers me when they mess up assists, but at least those can be hard to determine. But points? You are just going to take my hard earned points and give them to someone else?
Let me quickly address the argument that it is somehow selfish to track your points while you play: Get the f*&# out of here. It happens without having to think about it. It’s not like half my shots are worth .5, and every 3rd free throw you have to take the square root of something. It’s all simple adding.
I am convinced that every player is aware of their exact point total throughout the game. I have had people tell me that they don’t count, or that they lose track. I don’t buy it. The ones who claim that they have no clue about their stats are almost always the ones who seem to end up playing with a suspicious amount of urgency during garbage time. I’m not saying they know precisely how many points they need to reach their average, but it sure looks like there is some mental math going on when a player goes from looking dead serious to totally relaxed after their final made field goal.
Anyway, I was really taken aback the first time I had scoring related discrepancies. I was stunned because stuff like that just does not happen in college. One game toward the end of my first year I was credited with 7 points, and I was 100% certain I had scored 9. I looked at the box score, tallied up every one’s listed scoring output, compared it with the final tally, and the math worked out. Somewhere a teammate was flashing an evil smile and rubbing his hands together, 2 points the richer.
I set out to find the recipient of my bonus field goal, but no one would come forward. I’m sorry, but in situations like this you have got to suspect an Israeli. I bet one of them is buddies with one of the score keepers. The stat guy could easily have been looking down and missed me hitting a shot. I bet he shrugged his shoulders and gave the points to his friend. If I was a 17 year old scorekeeper, and all I cared about was smoking cigarettes, eating Shawarma, and downing energy drinks I would probably do the same thing.
I never did find out who was gifted that extra bucket. The good thing is that recently I have come to begrudgingly accept these kinds of errors. There has never been more than a two point discrepancy. Two points is not going to make or break my average over the course of a season. Another reason I keep quiet about a missing point or two is that every now and then the box score mistakes actually turn out in my favor.
I remember one game this year where I was kicking myself for missing two free throws down the stretch of a close game. When I saw the box score they had me down as having gone a nice, efficient one for one. What a pleasant surprise!
It’s like being furious with yourself for dropping a whole plate of food on the floor, only to realize you are home on a break and you won’t have to clean up because you have a dog who will literally eat anything. Anything. Grass, feces, trash, chocolate cakes swiped off tables. On a recent walk he ate a road killed rabbit straight off the pavement. Maybe he’s part goat.
So it turns out they had given both those free throw misses to our small forward. He is a veteran so he laughed about it when I pointed it out. That’s actually the attitude I might consider adopting. Probably healthier than seething about it, starting a missing point witch hunt, and then writing about it.
For the few months I was out with my foot injury I took to keeping unofficial stats in my head. I then checked out the box scores after the game to see the discrepancies. There were usually glaring errors. Most often they involved how many shots a player missed. I have personally seen a guy miss 8 shots and he was credited as going 7-10. I am not mad about it, especially when it makes my friends look good, but it galls me to think that the scorekeepers are so sloppy.
The crazy thing is that it apparently used to be even worse. I had a teammate tell me about how bad he had it 5 years ago. He went half a season where he was the starting power forward, playing 35 minutes a game, and his stats showed him averaging two rebounds per game. He swears on all that is holy that he was getting at least 7. He finally got his coaches to watch the film with him, which confirmed the accuracy of his statements. The coaches had to submit the films to the league office, and to their credit they retroactively gave him some rebounds.
Maybe the score keepers simply don’t understand basketball. Maybe they are understaffed to handle the workload of a game, or they are playing favorites. Whatever the case they are about as inaccurate as you can be in a professional sports league. What if you could webcast the games to several different people? They can be watching comfortably from home, and each of them can track one statistic. That can’t cost that much, and the benefits would be manifold.
Until then everyone just has to deal with it. Like I said previously, I need to make a better effort at becoming buddy-buddy with the stat guys. I might have to start leaving a pack of Marlboros and a six pack of Red Bulls at the scorer’s table before every game. You will definitely not hear me complaining if I leave the gym after playing a bad game, totally dejected, only to check the stats online and see that I was credited with a triple double.