The mistreatment of referees is causing a nationwide shortage

The mistreatment of referees is causing a nationwide shortage

Have you ever been to an athletic event and witnessed a parent yelling at the referee? I know I have. When my brother was five-years-old and playing tee ball, many parents could be heard screaming at the umpire and the opposing team players. It’s supposed to be a fun game, and unruly spectators are ruining it. The continuous immaturity in the stands is causing a shortage of referees. 

Jeff Tracy, a sports writer, stated, “50,000 high school referees (roughly 20% of the nationwide total) quit between 2018 and 2021…. 60% of officials surveyed in 2020 said their top reason for quitting would be verbal abuse from parents and fans.”  

Games continue to get canceled and shut down because schools, leagues, and organizations cannot find anyone who wants to deal with parents and coaches mistreating them for a job that some would volunteer for. 

Would you yell at someone at the grocery store if he or she had misplaced a bag of chips? I hope not because that person is attempting to do his or her job to the best of his or her abilities. If you treated that employee the same way some people treat referees, there would be a huge problem.

An article from Today by Scott Stump states, “In South Carolina, 70 percent of new officials in youth soccer do not return after their first year, according to the SC Referee Association”.  

What makes it so excusable to treat referees differently? Some have a twisted view on how games they watch are supposed to go, making parents and coaches upset and believing it is excusable to scream, yell and sometimes get violent towards the people doing their job. 

Come on people! Referees are doing their best; a bad call or a mistake in your opinion that was correct in the first place is not an excuse to mistreat someone for simply doing a job. Treat referees how you would treat anyone else before there are no referees remaining.