Pay attention to officials story

In this week’s Chronicle, you’ll find a story written by Charity Wessel regarding a shortage of officials to officiate games at the sub-varsity level. So, if you want to get some exercise and know a little about basketball, this is a great opportunity for you to make some extra cash.
We say “great opportunity” somewhat lightly, as more and more there is a shortage of officials for what is a very obvious reason—fans are becoming more and more belligerent when there is a call they don’t agree with. Nationwide there is more and more of an official shortage, part of which is due to the fact that people don’t want to take three hours of abuse because Johnny’s dad is reliving his high school glory days through his son.
The people who officiate don’t do it for the money. It doesn’t pay a ton of money. They do it to stay involved in a sport they likely love, want to help out and want to get some exercise. That can all be tempered by being berated up and down the court for hours on end. At some point, many of them probably just throw up their hands and say, “this isn’t worth it.”
Go down a rabbit hole sometime on YouTube of officials at all levels being dressed down by the crowd, or worse yet, being assaulted by players or people in the crowd. It will make you sick. One video shows parents verbally assaulting an umpire so much at a little league baseball game he cancels the game and walks off the field. Is little league baseball really so important that an umpire needs berated? We think not.
Unfortunately, we have seen that type of behavior in the Custer stands, as well. Yes, the student section is going to do its cheers (“nuts and bolts....we got” and you know the rest), but that’s all in good fun. The adults in the crowd are usually the worst. We have seen it with our own eyes. Sometimes it gets flat-out embarrassing. When you’re calling the refs names or telling them “to shut their mouth,” you’re no longer a fan, you’re a lunatic.
If you don’t agree with a call, that’s fine. A quick, “oh come on” will suffice. Then let it go. A single call in a basketball game rarely ever determines the outcome of an entire game. And, officials are human beings. They are going to get calls wrong from time to time. It happens. Can they come to your place of employment and point out all the things you are doing wrong for a few hours?
Let’s leave the discussions with the officials to the coaches. The coaches can get animated, they can even draw a technical foul. That’s part of the game. Crowds hurling insults down on the officials is not. We all could, and should, do better, and set a better example for the athletes on the court and children in the stands.
Let’s all pledge to exhibit better sportsmanship this winter, before games start getting cancelled because our officials decide it’s no longer worth the abuse.

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