The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Amateur sports officials deserve respect, not abuse !



In any sport or activity, there are rules, and rules need to be enforced.

You can’t trust players on the team to enforce rules, as arguments would break out over minor inconsistencies, and it would lead to allegations of bias. Having a coach trying to officiate the rules would lead to a similar situation.

So, there is no choice: You have to have a referee or umpire on the ice or the field to enforce the rules as an impartial, third party.

A lot of times, they keep the game going smoothly, they make the calls and they’re fair and correct. Coaches, players and fans stay respectful and do not question or criticize the calls.

However, exceptions exist.

There are the games when the calls are not going one of the teams’ way, and the referees and umpires will hear about it. From coaches and fans. Some of these comments get nasty really quickly, jumping from “do you need your glasses checked?” to “How much is the team paying you to make these calls?” to comments that can’t be printed in any newspaper.

Who would want to be a sports official these days, considering the abuse heaped upon them.

We’ve may have all become angry at a questionable call during a game, but yelling, cursing and screaming at the ones trying to keep order in the game doesn’t help anyone at all.

Most referees and umpires do not do their jobs for the money. Calling a game for a few hours doesn’t pay the bills. Rather, it is something these men and women are doing on their own time because they enjoy the game. Many have been involved in sports for years, and this is a way to keep in touch with the sport they enjoy and help grow the game.

Referees and umpires are required. Otherwise, leagues fold. Yes, bad calls may be made, but we have to remember, these officials are human beings. They make mistakes, just like everyone else. They may believe the call on the field is correct. You may think otherwise. Just bite your tongue and move on, and make it up on the scoreboard.

This comments hurled at officials means it is hard to find new ones to take their place. Nobody is going to want to do a job where they get screamed at and made to feel like garbage if they make a mistake. It doesn’t allow the game to grow at any level.

It’s been said before, but officials in the games deserve our respect. Yes, mistakes are made, but a blown call is preferable to not having a sports league at all.

(Charles Lefebvre is a News reporter. To comment on this and other editorials, go to


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