Please Respect Sports Officials
Though this doesn’t directly pertain to a childfree or antinatalist theme, I figured this recent entry on my main blog would fit here, mainly because I see a bunch of raging parents (and sometimes their offspring even) getting belligerent with sports officials, and it’s just uncalled for. I swear, sometimes parents act more like children at sporting events than their kids do. It makes me sick to my stomach. I feel sorry for those kids that have to deal with it. It’s embarrassing.
I understand that in the heat of competition you might get a little irritated with a close call that doesn’t go your way. I understand you fans really want your team to win. I really do. Competition turns even the best of people into monsters just frothing out the mouth to kill someone, and understandably so. However, the lack of respect for sports officials is absolutely disgusting.
I’m a former sports official. I officiated pee-wee/middle school/high school football, middle school/high school basketball, and ASA/USSSA/high school/NAIA/NCAA softball for 6 years. It was about the best job I could have had at the time which gave me flexible hours and paid better than just about any other part-time job I could have. I didn’t much like the job, mind you, but it fit my lifestyle at the time.
Most games went by without issue. I mean yes, coaches and players would want to ask me a couple of questions, but a majority of the time they did so in a polite manner and all was well. There were however a handful of incidents every season that got crazy, all of which resulted in me removing the offending person(s) from the area. I had a reputation for a quick ejection and/or a quick technical foul. These earned me the nicknames “Mr. T” and “the ejection seat” which, I have to admit, I was proud of. I didn’t put up with any BS from anyone. The second a coach or player raised their voice to me it was an immediate technical or ejection. That was my policy and I stuck to it. I also had no issues removing problem fans and I ejected more than my fair share of them. I wasn’t about to stand around and take any verbal abuse from anyone. It’s just not necessary and it won’t change my call.
The point being is that we’re only human beings. I promise you officials don’t intentionally hose you. We are limited by the perspective we have on the field and admittedly it’s not necessarily the best view, and in many cases those in the stands and/or watching on TV at home have a better view than we do. We also don’t have the luxury of slow-motion replay (with the exception of D1 NCAA and NFL football) so we have to make snap judgments on bang-bang plays.
I challenge any of you hecklers to put on the stripes, the blue, or whatever and do a better job. You think you can do a better job than us, so why not come down here and prove to us you can do a better job? What, afraid you’re going to make yourself look silly? Yeah, that’s what I thought, smartasses.
Like I said, I understand that tempers can fly in competition. That said, bitching at us over what you think may be a bad call isn’t going to win you any brownie points and if anything will do nothing but hurt your cause. I’m speaking from experience on the other side of the coin too. I played men’s fastpitch softball for about 10 years. I have been ejected my fair share of times and every time I was ejected I fucking deserved it and I knew it before I even opened my mouth to jaw at the umpires. I have no hard feelings toward any of the umpires who gave me the heave-ho and had I been in their position I’d have done the same thing. It’s just part of it though.
You don’t have to like the call, but you had better damn well respect it. We really do our best, and we have bad days just like anyone else. Cut these poor officials some slack. It really is a hard job.