Just watch the gameThere’s been a lot made in recent years about the lack of officials in North Dakota. If you’re a newspaper reader, recent headlines like “Call ends with arrest” or “Crazed dad jailed after run-in with ump,” certainly brings to light part of the reason why reffing, umping and judging just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.
By: David Selvig, The Jamestown Sun
There’s been a lot made in recent years about the lack of officials in North Dakota.
If you’re a newspaper reader, recent headlines like “Call ends with arrest” or “Crazed dad jailed after run-in with ump,” certainly brings to light part of the reason why reffing, umping and judging just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.
In recent years, overzealous — to put it kindly — parents and fans have been easy targets for sports writers, talk show hosts and who ever else has pages to fill or time to kill. Courageous, it is not, to savage someone acting like a complete moron in front of other human beings.
However, in recent years the level of hostility and aggressive tone from the bleachers directed towards officials has certainly increased.
I’ve never flat-out went up to someone prone to this type of behavior and asked, “Why are you doing that?” More than anything you don’t want to give someone so obtuse more time than they deserve.
However, I have talked with a handful of officials and referees about the matter. Specifically wanting to know, “How do you tune these tools out?” and secondly, “How do you keep them from clouding your objectivity?”
Most say it’s impossible to tune out the racket entirely. Often times, for which I can attest, they’re so loud you can’t help but hear them. It’s like the fools are mic’ed up. How could anyone not hear someone dropping an F-bomb at the top of their lungs? Seriously, I heard it on at least three occasions in 2008-09 alone at high school sporting events!
But all of the officials also told me, to their credit, it can’t get in the way of objectively officiating the game, regardless of how offensive the behavior may be.
It’s certainly a different generation of fandom for sure and like many things, not for the better.
Much like the aggression of fans and parents towards officials continues to worsen, coaches too often bare the brunt of overly patrolling moms and dads.
Last school year alone, I witnessed at least three confrontations between nutty parents and coaches, who were doing nothing more than their jobs.
In my experience, the ones hooting and hollering the loudest, are the ones who didn’t play themselves and are living vicariously through their kids, which is a level of messed-up I can’t even attempt to quantify.
I’ve seen it at my own daughter’s games and she’s just barely into middle school. I tell you, if I was a degenerate like these people, I’d have rammed my size 13s into places they’re not meant to be rammed just to put these clowns out of their own misery. Don’t they realize how much they’re embarrassing their kid? Their own name? Hello?
High school, grade school and middle school coaches and referees don’t do it for the money, obviously. It’s not the pros. It sounds tacky, but generally they do it because they love their respective sports. They make mistakes. They’re human. We all do, right?
If not, grab a whistle or a clipboard and stand a post. Otherwise, shut up and just watch the game.
Sun sports writer Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com