Official Abuse: Widely Accepted
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “I found your phone ref, you’re missing the call!”, “Want to borrow my glasses?”, or my personal favorite, “My blind grandmother could see that was a strike!”. A lot of people seem to have blind grandmothers these days.
I wish I could say that these are all isolated, once in a blue moon incidents. The truth is that sports officials take abuse at every game they officiate. I get it, everyone makes bad calls eventually. A ball that probably should have been called a strike, a blocking foul that could have easily been called a charge, or a Touchdown when the receiver pushed off.
The sad fact is this: It has become normal, even accepted, to abuse the officials. I’ve been to little league games played by eight year olds, and parents are yelling at and taunting the officials, usually high school kids. Where is the line drawn? Well, if there ever was a line, society crossed it a long time ago. It’s become the norm for enraged parents to yell at the umpire when they disagree with a call. It’s become the norm for high school kids to walk to their car after a game, afraid that an angry dad is waiting for them in the parking lot.
Don’t you wish that you could go to their place of work? Whenever they forget to send an important email, you could just boo them? Ask them if they need to borrow your glasses when they misspell a word on a memo? I always think of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes to an office to heckle a woman that booed him on stage. Sometimes I think that officials need to do that.
Whatever the case, something needs to be done. Sports culture needs to change for the better. You’re out there, in the game that you love, doing your best. You don’t need to be afraid. It’s time for a change.
By Graham Walker