ATTN Sports Fans: The Ref’s are people too- back off
With High School Basketball Tournaments less than 1 month away, I was reminded of this post I wrote back in 2018. It is still fitting today, so I was encouraged to post it again. Here it is unedited;
ATTN: Basketball Fans (and all sports fans);
I was between broadcasting games this past weekend when I was approached by a fan with the following question: “What do you think about the 7 on 5 in that game?” I was confused so I asked what that meant. The fan said. “Our 5 against their 5 and the refs”. WOW……I was speechless for a couple of minutes. (Not to mention there were 3 refs on the floor)
First- please don’t ask me that question. I am a football official and will defend the ref’s 100%. I appreciate the passion of the fans, but I also understand that the view from the floor/ field is much different than it is from the stands. I also know that the majority of the fans have not spent the 100’s of hours studying the rules like the officials have. What may appear as an infraction may not actually be a reason to blow the whistle.
Second- 99.9999% of the officials want a fair game. They could care less who wins and who loses. They have dedicated themselves to the integrity of the game and want every kid to be successful. I heard many fans yelling “there are 2 teams on the floor, call it both ways” on several occasions during the tournament. I am a 3rd party observer with no allegiance to any of the schools that I broadcast. With that being said, I didn’t always agree with all of the calls. But, I never insulted an official and I also felt that the officiating was consistent and that no team was given an advantage from the officials. As a broadcaster, I am not looking at the same thing as the ref’s. My opinion is just that, an opinion. I have not attended the many basketball study clubs or any of the training sessions that these refs have been too. 99.99% of the fans haven’t either.
The football pool that I belong to has lost good officials due to the behavior of the fans. Please imagine a game being played without the officials and image how the outcome would be. I know what you are thinking- the officials need to get thicker skin. Ok, come on out- put on the stripes and whistle and tell me how that works for you. The entire High School sports world is low on officials. The pay is low and the hours are long. We do it for the love of the game and the passion to help kids succeed!!
I have been witness to fans swearing and threating refs. Most of the time the fan is dealt with, but not before the impact has been made. I have had players apologize to me on the field because of their mom or dad. Think about that next time you want to draw attention to “your opinion” of a call or play.
This is High School sports. Please support your kid/ team without detracting from their effort on the court. Also, don’t ask me what I think about how a game was officiated- you won’t like my response. Thank you!
If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org