Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Referees do noble work

October 3, 2007

I attended a high school soccer game earlier this week.
The fans were all over the referees.
You'd have thought the Oakland Raiders were playing at Arrowhead or Kansas was playing K-State in Manhattan.
It was, shall we say, a contentious environment.
Every call, every time a referee blew the whistle in the first period, there was someone complaining.
If the call went one way, then this group of fans cheered. If the call went the other way, they booed.
It was amazing; in the eyes of the crowd, the referees ability to do their jobs went from marginal to excellent in a matter of seconds.
Yes, an impressive transformation.
As I listened and watched it all unfold, and it should be noted the game didn't involve Bonner Springs or Basehor-Linwood, I grew a little bit tired of it.
Pehraps some things should be clarified. I want to dispel the myths surrounding officiating of high school athletics.
First, referees can cost teams a game, but it also means that these players didn't do enough to control their own destiny.
Second, I would say that 99.999 percent of referees are not on the take, or being paid or anything else that people might want to conjure up in their minds as a reason why a call didn't go their way.
I would make it an even 100 percent, but you just never know for sure.
Rather, referees are simply human beings. Like any of us, they make mistakes. Sometimes, they just blow a call and there isn't much they can do about it. I guess there is some justice in letting them know that the wrong call was made.
I also think that people should also be more understanding.
I just don't believe that a referee ever intentionally makes the wrong call. I also don't believe they ever attend a game and plan just to call it one way or another.
Have you heard this complaint, "Call it both ways, ref."
I find this to be fair request, but also a bit silly.
If I am a referee, I am thinking, thanks for the reminder, because I was going to just make calls for team B.
I believe most referees at the high school level, probably work other jobs and referee for extra money and because they enjoy being part of sports.
I think most of them officiate because they want to facilitate fair competition and on some level, give these children an opportunity to play the games.
See, that's the thing, whether it is a coach, a referee or a hot dog vendor, nobody gets rich by being involved with high school athletics. Well, maybe high school basketball teams that play games on ESPN do, but that is another story.
In saying all of this, I also realize that I am a fan as well. When a call goes against my team I get upset, but I would never think a referee intentionally made the wrong call.

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