Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rational Parents Gone Bad

Unfortunately, I didn't have any games with this weekend. The good news is I got to attend my son's game!
Being a referee, and always wanting to learn, I always have something to do at my kid's games. I watch the referees doing the game and try to learn (both good and not so good) from them. This weekend was no exception. My older son's team drew an excellent official for their game. They played one of the more skilled teams in their league and, apparently, one of the more physical as well. As I predicted in the beginning parts of the game, there were many cards. The referee called the game pretty tight as one might do with older boys. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing he might have had the home team before as he seemed to be trying to keep a lid on their rough play. Anyway, he called a good game under tough circumstances. I admired his ability to control the game. He asserted his authority early and kept it through the game.
After the game, I had a somewhat disturbing incident.
As I waited for my son, the 3 officials were exiting the field nearby. One of the opposing teams fathers approached the center referee and said to him "Was this your first game?" in an obviously mocking tone. The referee replied with some remark about how the parent should get certified. I couldn't help myself. I don't know if it was the sight of another official getting harassed or the flippant attitude of this obviously ignorant parent. I chimed in with a rather stern "Leave him alone! You should consider reading the Laws of the Game." The parent replied with something about the referee not being able to tell time as my son's team scored in added time (The game ended in a draw). Of course, I said, "It's called added time. You really should read about it." So this guy replies...wait for it..."Hey, I'm a coach. I know the game." My reply was "That's exactly my point." and I walked away.
Before you send me a million emails, I realize I probably should not have gotten involved. Then again, how many times do we see people ignore something like this. It's just wrong to hassle a referee. I don't care whether they called a good game, or a "bad" game. It doesn't matter. No parent, coach or player has any right or reason to hassle a game official. After thinking about it on the way home, I decided it was the right thing to do. I didn't get involved only because I'm a fellow official, I got involved because the incident was just plain wrong.


The Whistle Runner said...

Should you have gotten involved? Who knows? But it was probably reassuring for the referee team that someone stood up for them. As referees, we get enough crap from all sides, so it was probably well received that someone was on their side.

Anonymous said...

I think it was good that you spoke up. If the referees start to argue with this kind of individual, they can just end up looking defensive. But as a disinterested third-party (well, sort of), you have more credibility.