I am now the wife of an Illinois High School Association official. In other words, I’m the wife of a high school football and basketball ref. At first, when we were dating, I thought this would be so totally fun.
But then I went to a few games. And watched my then-boyfriend (and then-fiance and now-husband) get yelled at. Quite a bit. (And, well, I maybe yelled back once or twice. I know, not cool.)
In fact, I went to the extent to actually say this in our wedding vows: “I promise to go to your games to watch you ref and try not to yell at fans when they heckle you even though I get all protective.”
For some reason, as a basketball mom these past several years, it had never crossed my mind how parents treated the refs, but now that I’m married to one, I’m hyper-sensitive to it.
I was recently at an away game of my son’s. The fans (aka parents) were so obnoxious – and I will go so far as to say downright mean – to the refs, that I actually got up and walked to the other side to sit in the stands of the opposing team. I was mortified. And here’s why, I think.
One, refs are simply human beings. There are typically three of them, but it still is hard to catch everything. However, for the most part, I think it’s safe to say that they are doing the best they can.
Two, we are modeling this behavior for our children who are sitting in the stands with us. In fact, that night with the all yelling, I saw a bunch of high school kids […]