A national shortage of high school sports referees...it was only a matter of time.
Listen to this:
"COVID has had a huge impact, but one of the main reasons for the shortage is unruly behavior from parents and fans.
"he un-sportsman like conduct of coaches, as well as some parents put people off and they don’t want to come back, they don’t want to return. They get yelled at during their days at work."
My take on this:
Sometimes we have to lose what we "love most" in order to change.
There is no guarantee this gets better.
And unless we want the parent who screams at the refs to become the ref, we need to stand up and say something.
We all cringe (especially this community which is comprised mostly of love-powered parents and coaches who are not perfect but are striving to be better) when we watch the overzealous parent or coach scream at the refs.
We need to stop cringing and start standing.
Stand up and kindly ask that parent the following question:
"Excuse me, sir/ma'am, do you know that there is a national referee shortage? Do you enjoy watching your kid play? If so, would you kindly do us all a favor and stop screaming at the refs?"
If it's the coach yelling, we need you to walk up to him/her during a non-conflict time (NOT during the game please) and when he/she is calm, revise the question above and deliver it.
Do not expect a smile and a thank you. But you can be sure it will make a difference, even if it is only a small one.
There are more action steps that require bigger lifts, like gathering many parents and going to the director of the club team or the administrators of the schools anonymously, but I'll leave that up to you for now. Whatever you do, do it in love....
It's that simple.
This won't solve the deeper rooted issues which lies in our own personal values systems, our selfish ambitions, our fears, etc. But this is a start.
As we continue to work to find our own identity, worth, and value in something more fulfilling and lasting than sports, let's be sure to use our voice and not be silent when we see things that are clearly not right.