There’s a problem that is growing in sports. One that isn’t hitting you in the face quite yet, but the road is being paved and we really need to have a talk about it. Over the past decade, the number of referees participating in sporting events have fallen off drastically. Quite frankly, I can’t blame them. The way that referees are treated is disgusting. The lack of respect from coaches, players, and parents is ridiculous and using the old adage that it’s part of the game is a stupid comment to use.
What job, much less a job that people volunteer to do, has a reputation where you are allowed to ridicule and come at these people for simply trying to do their job? How would you feel if someone came into your workplace everyday and criticized you on every little move you made, how you looked, how you worked? You probably wouldn’t like it. The thing about it is that refereeing is incredibly difficult and not an easy job to do at all. Most calls are judgement calls, and with the pace of games these days can become very difficult very fast. Just go out one time, I ask you, and referee any game. Whether that is a pickup game or an official game, and you’ll begin to understand the job at hand.
The issue going on is that one day, there will be a massive shortage on referees. The college and professional ranks will probably not feel it but down in the grassroots programs, it’s going to come very quick. Why are we trying to run out anyone who is doing these jobs? The quality of refereeing will not only continue to decline but with time, the older people will stop giving their time. There are not enough referees coming back into the fold to off-set the losses that we are seeing. I have a feeling there will be a time where we will see that games will get postponed or cancelled because there simply aren’t enough referees to do those games.
It’s simply a matter of respect. There is a lack of respect for the referees and the jobs that they do. It’s a lack of respect from the parents, the coaches, the fans, and the players. It literally needs to change very soon, or we won’t have anyone to referee these games. We need to get ahead of this issue now. We need to start teaching the young players that they need to respect the officials and treat them as their word is good. Even if they are wrong or even if you don’t agree with it, you need to respect them.
Parents in the stands. Stay quiet. Give your child a role model that you would be proud of. If you are acting like an idiot in the stands, what does that tell your child about how they should act like it public. Learn to control yourself and treat others with respect. Stop looking at it as part of the game and start understanding that there is a major issue growing and if it’s not corrected soon we will all start to pay for those actions.
Being a referee could be an excellent side job for those who are struggling with money. Not only will you get to stay involved around sports, but you get to be apart of the event as well. Being a referee gives a lot of benefits, we just need to start getting rid of the negatives. With the way the world is right now, that may be tough at first but if we start understanding that there will be a problem one, we can get ahead of it and help our sports out in the state.