It is not always the ref’s fault


Shaking hands with thankful coaches, these three referees are pictured during a rare moment. More often than not, refs are not thanked for the work they do, and instead, are blamed for a team’s loss or for any call that is made.

Janie Inscore, Staff Reporter

 Referees are debatably some of the most misunderstood, yet necessary components to running any high school game, competition, match, or meet. So why is it that with every call made, there is a judgement made by someone in the crowd? When asked about how he felt on this issue, father of University of Miami swimming commit Adrianna Cera and high school swim official Peter Cera stated, “Just because a referee appears to have missed a call, it doesn’t mean the referee doesn’t know the rules.” In many sports, refs and officials have mere seconds, or split-seconds, to determine rule infractions. There is no instant replay, no time for review. Refs do the best they can with the time they have, and oftentimes, parents are watching closely in the stands, waiting for a mistake to be made so that they can offer assistance on a call. Some parents, per the experience of many high school referees, have even gone as far as claiming refs have no integrity over decisions that have been made. Ultimately, however, the judgement is up to the officials as to whether their viewpoint provided proof of a rule infraction.

 Swim officials, for example, are required to prove their knowledge of all rules by passing a written exam. Although this does not necessarily prove someone’s ability to apply the rules, it proves they are aware of the so-called book knowledge. Refs may know the necessary material in order to make calls and judge plays; however, mistakes happen. These mistakes are what lead to a severe under-appreciation for the men and women who take time out of their lives to officiate for the high schools that rely on them. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Texas Association of Sports Officials conclude that nearly eighty percent of sports referees who left their profession in 2017 cited verbal abuse as their reason. So, next time you think about opening your mouth to yell at an official, it might be worth considering what these people are sacrificing to make games happen. Although they do get paid, it is not enviable to be blamed for nearly every decision made on the field, court, or pool.

 The refs and officials you are tempted to spew anger towards are also fathers, mothers, daughters, friends, and sons. They have been trained to do a very difficult job and are quickly becoming few in number as they suffer the hardships that fans and athletes place over them.