Friday, September 2, 2011

Youth Sports: What if there were no Refs or Umpires?

Crazy Youth Sports Parents Series - inspired by the recent football referee attack and football brawl.

What would happen if one day all of the underpaid and over abused referees and umpires just decided it just wasn't worth it anymore and quit?

There would be no crack of the bat, no swish of a net, no crunching shoulder pads, and no cheers from the fans.

Every youth sports game would end in a tie 0-0.

But there would be a positive result - There would be no yelling or degrading barbs from parents either. Wait, or would parents just redirect their frustration elsewhere?

Perhaps grocery checkout girls, McDonald's fry chefs or Department of Motor Vehicle clerks would get more grief. Maybe road rage would escalate.

I guess it's possible that parents will just start yelling at each other more. They would certainly have much more time to yell at each other with no youth sports pulling them in separate directions. Maybe the divorce rate would go up.

There would be more family dinners (that's good) but they would go more like this.

Mom: Hi Honey, how was work.

Dad: Terrible, I had to really yell at the copy machine guy today to get him to do his FRICKEN job correctly. How was your work day?

Mom: You think your day was bad? Some blind A-hole was cut me off on the way home from work and I told him where to shove his bumper.

Mom: Here is your dinner. I hope you like it.

Dad: Are you kidding me, you call this dinner? You Suck! You really, really SUCK.
Use your good eye next time your read the recipe!

Dad: Your mom really burns me up. Son, how was your day.

Son: I played Madden 2012 all day. I would have won my game, if the Stupid electronic ref didn't call a penalty.

Dad: What did I tell you about using the word stupid, YOU MORON.

Check out the abuse this Football Referee had to endure.

The Main Point

I am pretty sure that no one likes to get yelled at. I know I don't. So parents STOP YELLING AT AND ABUSING UMPIRES AND REFS. It just may save you from a costly divorce.

I saw a picture of a sign that was hanging on a baseball backstop that sums it up perfectly - it read:

"Umpires Needed, Apply Now. If you yell at an Umpire will be considered an applicant."


  1. Ultimate frisbee has never had referees or umpires. It was only in the last few years that Observers were introduced, but only for high level games, i.e. World, National Championship games.
    Ultimate is governed by Spirit of the Game. It is this that makes it possible to be a self-officiating sport.
    Youth leagues have started in a number of US and canadian markets, and there are usually pickup games going on everywhere.

  2. You beat me to it, Barry. My thoughts exactly. :)

  3. Thanks guys. I appreciate the comment.

    I hear you - my son plays competitive golf which is self-officiated - but in this very competitive society with "Elite this" and "Select that" youth sports with the pride of a frustrated dad or mom on the line - fights would occur in self-officiated games too. Like Barry said above - high level games - need officials. I know you can argue that youth sports is not high level, but to many select sports are.

    The real solution is for parents to respect the dignity of the refs and umps who are mostly just trying to make a buck and call it as they see it. (Of course there are situations when the ref is not honest, I have certainly seen my share of that too. Those people desire the ire of the fans.)

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