It seems to be a time-honored tradition in sports – blame the refs. They should have called that! They shouldn’t have called THAT! It is one of the few constants across sports. While tempers can flare in the heat of the moment, learning to accept the referees’ calls, even bad ones, can lead to a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved, while also setting a great example for our student athletes.
Let us remember, monkey see, monkey do! If our young athletes see us jumping up to shout complaints at a referee, they will feel more empowered to follow suit. Just like in life, every call is not going to go the way you think it should. Learning to deal with disappointment in a healthy way sets your child up for success in the future.
Having positive interactions with refs will also improve the experience on their end. Like coaches, refs are there to make sure a game happens safely and follows the rules. According to the New York Times, 70% of referees quit within three years, with parents and coaches being named as two of the biggest deterrents. Games can’t happen without refs! But refs are leaving in increasing numbers due mostly to hostile environments.
No one loves when a ref misses a penalty or foul. But they are doing their best, just like our student athletes and their coaches. Leading by example and treating the referees with respect will help reverse the ref shortage trend and show your student athletes how to deal with adversity when something doesn’t go their way.