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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Breathe Out
2006-05-12 21:56
by Jon Weisman

This story by Peter Yoon of the Times about the need for more high school referees and umpires illustrates why we have to find a way to control our anger at sporting events:

Referee and umpire associations throughout the country have reported a need for help. Games, especially at levels below varsity, are routinely understaffed, regularly rescheduled and sometimes canceled because of the lack of qualified officials.

In a day of two-income households, it has become more and more difficult to recruit competent people away from their day jobs for 3:15 p.m. games to earn a meager stipend.

Add the ever-increasing number of violent outbursts against game officials and the task of recruiting becomes even more difficult. ...

Referees and umpires realize that it's part of the job to deal with occasional outbursts, but violence is becoming more common. According to documents obtained by The Times, there were 1,104 reports filed with the Southern Section detailing incidents that warranted player, coach or fan ejections during the 2005-06 fall and winter sports seasons.

"We get more reports of assaults on officials than we ever have in history," said Barry Mano, president of the National Assn. of Sports Officials. "It's a developing problem at the high school level, but the potential for mayhem is great…. I think acting out has become more acceptable."

Even if an official is incompetent, it's no excuse for violence. I'm really not sure why that's such a difficult concept for people.

2006-05-12 22:15:19
1.   Bob Timmermann
You never experienced prep football until you've seen a Franciscan priest, in his clerical clothes, swearing a blue streak at an official.

Well, maybe Jon has.

2006-05-12 22:50:52
2.   Xeifrank
My best friend got kicked out of an AYSO soccer game this year. He was an assistant coach and walked out onto the field when a player on their team got hurt and was crying on the field in pain. The kids were around 10 years old. AYSO requires that all coaches stand inside a painted coaching box on the sidelines and "no parents" are allowed to give any coaching advice to any kids or they can be kicked out of the game too. My friend then left the park and watch the game from his car across the street. The ref stopped the game, ran over to the fence and told my friend he had to drive away or else the team would have to forfeit. So, I think it goes both ways as far as discipline at games go.
vr, Xei
2006-05-12 23:49:42
3.   Bob Timmermann
I think that with AYSO they have to take a hard stance because of problems they've had in the past. And it's easier to give a volunteer or very low-paid ref very strict guidelines rather than making him try to make it up as he goes along. Then the jerk parents will try to take advantage.
2006-05-13 05:30:48
4.   DXMachina
The thing about soccer is that most recreational and youth leagues in the country ultimately fall under the jurisdiction of one or the other very centralized organizations (USSF or AYSO), both of which seem to have a love for draconian rules (probably from the European influence). When I was coaching (in an adult women's league) I once saw a ref stop a game to scold a player for having an untucked shirt during play. (This was in the months leading up to the '94 World Cup, and the USSF was insisting that every rule on the books be enforced to the letter so we could show the world that Americans could run a proper soccer league. Or something like that. I've often wondered how many USSF board members popped clots when Brandi Chastain celebrated her penalty shot.)

That said, I suspect that all that youth coach would have had to do was get the attention of the ref, point to the injured player, and the ref would've stopped time and waved him onto the field to take care of the player. My guess is there was probably some overreaction by both coach and ref.

2006-05-13 09:43:18
5.   Fresno Old Guy
There are bad rules, bad refs and rotten parents. It begins and ends with the coaches. I've coached little league and youth soccer for 23 years. I still coach a U-11 Boys soccer team. I don't have problems because my parents (and extended family) know the rules and consequences of breaking them. A parent is out of line ... the affiliated kid is on the bench. In soccer if a parent insists on giving directions (usually wrong) I sub the kid and tell him that his parent obviously has something important to tell him. I've never had to do that more than twice in a season. I don't have parent problems. Do I have to swallow a lot of bad calls? Sure, who doesn't. I just tell my kids to work on what they can control and move on. I ask my parents to never blame the ref, the weather, of the phase of the moon during the ride home. Everyone is responsible for their own actions; kids, parents and coaches. It's a great lesson and has worked for 23 years. By the way ... it always works best if the player benched for the first time is one of the stars.


2006-05-13 19:25:33
6.   Eric L
2 I used to work for a parks and rec department running youth and adult sports leagues.

Please don't take this wrong. The story that your friend told you could very well be the whole story. In my experience, when I would get a call from an angry coach, they would tend to leave out important details.

Using your story as an example, I would get similar calls from angry coaches. Usually the rest of the story from my staff and officials was that the coach ran out on the field and was told that he had to wait for the whistle. Coach would become irrate and chew out the official. Official would then throw coach out of the game.

2006-05-13 23:39:34
7.   Scanman33
I've been a high school athletic director for three years now. There are many problems when it comes to officials and the first comes with the oversight of officials themselves.

There is currently no system in place for monitoring officials. Sure, you get your survey at the end of a season, but nothing ever really happens because like the article says, they're so desperate for officials it's not like they'll fire one. They can show up late, have a poor attitude, get a bug up their you know what for a coach and take it out on the players or flat out be bad and there are no repercussions. I know an assignor who has flat out lied on multiple ejection reports, saying a coach (actually multiple coaches on multiple occassions) dropped an f-bomb on him when it never happened. The CIF liaison is a joke because he's not really a liaison, just an advocate for officials against the "evil" coaches. In speaking with our liaison one time, he was more interested in insulting my coach's coaching ability than solving whatever issue there was with the coach.

When coaches are ejected, they are automatically suspended. No hearing, no appeal, it's automatic. It's inherently problematic when you put that much power and control in a high school official's hands. And yes, it does go to their head and they use it liberally and not always for the intent of "keeping order".

In so far as finding enough officials, I know many guys who work the local Pony and Little Leagues, youth basketball leagues and youth football leagues. None of them have been recruited by the officials and associations to become high school officials. So in so far as not having enough officials, what have they done to fix the problem?

90% of the officials are great guys who do great jobs. But it's the other 10% that ruin their reputation and it's usually that 10% that ends up in charge of the officials, either as an assignor or part of an officiating board of directors. People like to talk about a coach's ego, but wait until you come across one of these umpires/officials.

So forgive me if I don't shed a tear for them. It's their M.O. to place blame for all their problems on anyone but themselves. It's a very solveable "problem", but people watch the act of that 10% of officials I alluded to earlier and think to themselves, "Do I really want to be like that?"

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