I read a recent couple of articles about how we are heading for another crisis in this country, closely related to others we currently face. They discussed the problem of sports referees quitting in droves. Some predicted a dire situation, as nearly 80% are walking away from doing the very thing they loved and were trained to do. And who can blame them? Getting paid $25-75 per game for what? It would be hard enough to deal with the occasional player-gone-wild brawl. But the majority of problems come from parents and other spectators. Most of us have experienced the excitement and emotion of a close game. Tensions run high, an obvious bad call is made, and we feel justified in yelling our two cents worth. Even if we don’t really know the rules or didn’t truly see the infraction. Surely our kid or team couldn’t be in the wrong! And we obviously could do a far better job than that evil striped guy who clearly has a personal vendetta against us.
Well, I for one, am more grateful to all those black and white striped individuals who put up with unruly, loud, obnoxious, judgmental, untrained, sometimes-threatening, omniscient fans and continue to allow kids to participate in the myriad sports programs that so many people come to enjoy and demand. For anyone, like myself, who has ever found themselves somewhat critical of a referee at a game, perhaps we should show more patience, restraint and support, or else be willing to fill the void left by the 80% who are apparently tired of dealing with an unruly mob. To all those dedicated sports umpires, referees, and judges, especially in this great state of Idaho: thank you for your much needed and appreciated service to our children, schools and communities! Please continue to perform as you do, making tough calls the best you can, day after day, doing the job you love. Hopefully fans will rise to the occasion and show you the respect and support you all deserve.