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Letter to the editor: Time will come when there are no refs left to abuse

 
updated: 2/6/2019 7:12 PM

To the editor: I enjoyed reading your column ("Too many adults behaving badly at kids' games," Jan. 30, by John Homan) on fan behavior at sporting events.

I have been an IHSA-licensed official for 28 years. Some people might say not a very good one, but just like all my officiating buddies, I always do my best and make it my goal to be fair, be in position, and get the call right.

We are human. Sometimes we miss one, but gosh, they don't always get them right in the pros even with video review. It is all about perspective. One would think that grown-ups, or adults as they are referred to, would have an understanding about what is important in life.

Contrary to what some might think, life is not about winning or losing some game, or whether some referee got up that morning intent on giving your team the shaft.

But game after game, you see people who haven't figured that out yet. Right now, there is a serious problem regarding fan behavior at youth sporting events.

Recently, in addition to John Homan's column, I have seen articles from Les Winkeler of The Southern Illinoisan, the Illinois High School Association, and the Indiana High School Association all addressing problems with fan behavior.

It seems like they all just fall on deaf ears. Just the other evening after a high school basketball game, there was an upset fan, I'm guessing someone's dad, waiting outside the gym as my partner and I were leaving.

Since he was a big man, I was glad that he wasn't wanting to fight. But believe me, he wasn't waiting to tell us what a good job we did.

So, here is what is going to happen. The day is coming when there are not going to be enough officials to cover all the games. I am not just talking about basketball either. I am talking about all sports at all levels.

According to the National Federation of High School Sports, only two out of every 10 new officials lasts beyond two years. So as a result of this, the total number of officials nationwide is down drastically.

I am already seeing evidence of this in our area. Many of the older, experienced officials are hanging up their whistles and the new officials, after a couple years, say this isn't for me. Already, schools are having to combine lower-level games and some high schools are playing varsity boys and girls on the same night.

In closing, I would just remind coaches, fans, and especially parents to think about possible future consequences for their kids, grandkids, etc. Besides that, it just makes for a better atmosphere when adults set the right example.

Kenny Murphy

Harrisburg