Last week was Officials vs Cancer, a program of the International Association of Accredited Basketball Officials. Refs at all school levels were asked to donate 25% of their reffing fees to the American Cancer Society, and they raised big bucks. They always do.
But see how that plays against another ref- related program this month- “Support your Local Ref”, a program to show some respect for our sports officials in Connecticut.
Because while officials (specifically basketball refs) have been showing their love with their fight against cancer, officials in general haven’t been feeling the love at all.
You see the “Support your Local Ref ” program was initiated because the sports official community in Connecticut is in crisis- there are not enough refs to go around. And that is because 50% of all newly trained officials never return for a second season.
Verbal abuse, particularly by parents and other fans.
It’s that bad.
Six decades ago when I played Little League baseball, there was a bleacher behind home plate. The parents and fans were so abusive to the umpire, the bleacher was moved to deep center field where the expletives were harder to hear.
Little has changed, it seems.
In the sports world, no participants are more roundly maligned than the officials, right? They play the no-win position of angering one side or the other, no matter their call.
Their gaffs, which can influence a game’s outcome, often ring louder in the media than any player’s mistake. Post game air time is used to debate solutions for “bad calls”, real or perceived.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but I guess it does – behind the black and white stripes, these are people , just like us. They do their jobs as best they can, just like us. With generous hearts they raise funds against disease and other causes, just like us. And because of us their numbers are dwindling.
So while the world of professional sports continues to ask the question “What do we do with the officials?”, here on our elementary and high school athletic fields we should be asking “What would we do without them?”
To further bolster its kennel of competitors, SWSA is looking for a few good men and women to join the exciting Human Dog Sled Race on Friday evening, February 7, 2020 of Jumpfest 2020 weekend. Teams of six (five pulling and one riding) using sleds of your own design, compete for trophies in men’s, women’s and mixed categories as well as a people’s choice award for best costume/sled. The event is professionally announced.
Sleds can be as simple as an inner tube or as elaborate as an imitation fire truck.
Competition is fierce for a year’s worth of bragging rights for the winners, and fun is had by all.
If you have five friends or coworkers who are at least 18 years old and have at least a moderate level of fitness (you will be running in snow over a .3 mile course), then contact us at info@ jumpfest.org to get rules and other info.
Keep in mind that there is an element of risk involved.
Friday night of Jumpfest is a great time! An eighth of a mile of Luminarias guide you to the site, two roaring bonfires to keep you toasty, food and beverages for sale and target ski jumping and the Human Dog Sled Races are all held under the lights! Come join us!