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Author Topic: Need for officials in kids/high school sports  (Read 520 times)

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Online jdcatty

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Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« on: April 24, 2022, 10:42:33 PM »
Most of us have seen the pictures of the woman who was an umpire in a high school soft ball game.  She was attacked by some fan or fans in the stand and one side of her face looked bad. 

Not particularly about that case, but I have some friends that call high school and college football games.  They tell me all the time about how few resources they have— high school football games in Arkansas may pay them 100 bucks a game, no mileage, etc.  They are really having a hard time getting full crews — either 6 or 7 man crews.  A lot of schools are playing games on Thursdays simply because they can’t get officials on Friday.

Same is true for high school baseball and basketball.

Something has to change.

Damn Bobby Petrino!!!  What the Hell was he thinking?

Offline Feral

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2022, 05:55:59 AM »
My kid plays 10u travel ball, and the coaches always emphasize to the parents to go easy on the umps for the reasons you mentioned — they don’t get paid shit, they can’t find enough of them, and (most importantly) it’s freaking little league baseball and zero scouts are in attendance. In several tournaments we’ve played in, they’ve had scheduling issues where they weren’t able to use all the fields at the complexes because of ump shortages.

There’s no amount of money you could pay me to be an ump or referee now, especially with how much more serious youth sports have become. When I was growing up, I played city league rec ball with hand-me-down used bats and equipment. Now it’s a 4-5 figure investment with travel team dues, tournament fees, uniform costs, travel expenses, private lessons, etc., which ratchets up parent animus when the Braxtynn gets K’d looking.


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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2022, 07:50:45 AM »
which ratchets up parent animus when the Braxtynn gets K’d looking.

With the way parents act now there's no way in hell I'd want to referee a game for their shitty kids.  A few weeks ago there was a video where a fucking mob beat the shit out of a ref at what looked like an Upward/church league kid's basketball game.

Fuck all of it.

That's embarrassing.  Looks like Josh Duggar when his parents asked him to babysit.

Online jdcatty

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2022, 08:09:12 AM »
One result (in High School football, anyway) is more Thursday night games.  A few crews are willing to work two nights in a row, so some games are moved to Thursday.

And the sub-varsity (B-team, junior high, etc) situation is even worse. Two and three man crews are asked to cover 7th grade games, junior high games, and b-team games the same night. 

Good Morning America just teased an upcoming piece on this whole problem as i was writing this.  Will be interested to see it.

Damn Bobby Petrino!!!  What the Hell was he thinking?

Online bleedinred

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2022, 08:29:09 AM »
There are so many more sports being played now than even in the 90s/early 2000s.  A lot of guys who would normaly do baseball have changed to volleyball because it is indoors/airconditioned and the clientele is a little more civil.

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Online Guardrail

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2022, 08:34:12 AM »
When I played legion ball in the late 80s, we’d get paid like $20 a game to do teeny and little league games. Wasn’t that difficult, and you’d still get heckled just a little bit behind the plate. Not like now though.
This was also when they played games on Saturdays and all your buddies would have a game sometime that day too. It was something you looked forward to and then after the games you might grab some pizza and go play colecovision or Atari at your buddies house. The one with the hot sister. Now they only play league games during the week and nothing on saturday. Can’t interfere with travel/tournament ball! We grew up, then ruined it for everybody else.


Offline DrMongoose

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2022, 09:17:21 AM »
yes we need more officials.

actually, it's not a bad side gig and it can be a lot of fun. the camaraderie in the umpire or officials room is just like when you played the game and enjoyable.

if you want to get started as an ump fast pitch softball, dm me. I enjoy it but granted it's long process like anything else where experience makes the game slow down and make it much easier to do the job properly.

10U is the most challenging because the vast majority of coaches and parents have never read the rule book which is where 95% of the issues come from.
On top of that, winning is the top objective for some teams and actual player development is not even in the top 10 - winning and scoring runs on overthrows and stealing is priority 1-9, which I think does a major disservice to the kids but that's not my concern on the field but I see how it impact the kids and gives them a false sense of how the game is played.

like anything else in life there is good and bad (coaches, players, parents, fellow umps, etc), but it is fun to be out there and for it the kids and some side cheese and stay active.

it's never dull, you'll almost always see something you've never seen before.

the outside strike is the hardest pitch to call and the inside strike is the easiest because that one you can see but you can't and shouldn't ever stop working on it to get better.

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Online jdcatty

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2022, 09:48:58 AM »
Another problem in the college and even pro ranks is the never-ending pressure to promote women.  According to what I am hearing this is true in all major conferences.  Supposedly the SEC has taken a woman or two from the lower college ranks that simply aren't very good-- perhaps due to lack of experience.  Most of the male officials that work the major college ranks have worked their way up for years.

Damn Bobby Petrino!!!  What the Hell was he thinking?

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2022, 10:14:55 AM »
I used to ump baseball in my early 20's. Loved it. My worst experience was getting talked into doing a pitching machine tourney in Sardis on a Saturday. Other ump didn't show so I had to call balls/strikes and all bases for 9 hours. It sucked.

No way I would do it in this day and age.

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Offline arreferee

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2022, 10:41:43 AM »
There are a lot of good points in this thread.  The shortage of officials in Arkansas and nationwide is getting worse every year.  I've read where there have been games canceled because there were no officials available to work them.  I personally know a few guys who worked high school football for a few years and then quit because it wasn't worth the money to put up with the coaches every night. 

Unfortunately, many high school coaches (and some college coaches) spend a lot more time during the game trying to do the official's job instead of coaching the players.  My favorite coaches from my career (y'all would know almost all of them by name) were some of the toughest.  I enjoyed working for them because they didn't complain the whole game.  If they thought I missed one, they would let me know or ask about it.  When I tell them that's not the way I saw it, or if that's what happened, I missed it, they don't harp on it and go back to coaching their players.  One of y'all's (woopig) "favorite" coaches had a DC for a couple of years who had been a head coach and that didn't work out so well for him. He was notorious for complaining all game.  He came down one time yelling and screaming at me about a potential pass interference (along with the OC).  I didn't say anything to them because they were just yelling.  The head coach came down, called me by name, and asked me what I had.  I told him, "First, I'm not dealing with either of these two guys," and pointed to his DC and OC.  He said he would take care of them.  I told him what I saw.  He said, "OK, thanks."  I didn't hear a word out of either of them the rest of the game. 

There has been a big push to get more minorities into the college and pro ranks for quite a while now.  I don't have any problems with that as long as they are qualified.  Just put the best officials on the staffs and work the games (I don't care what color you are or what your gender is).  There are several minority football clinics around the country where, from what I've heard (I don't have first-hand knowledge for obvious reasons), anyone is invited who is not a white male (this just mirrors many other aspects of our lives today).  I talked to a white woman a few weeks ago who had been invited to many of them because she has expressed interest in moving into college officiating. 

With all that, I've had more fun over the years on trips and during games working with other officials.  Some of the best true friends I have are football officials from all over the country.  When I say true friends, I mean the types of guys who would drop everything, spend a significant amount of money to travel 1000 miles, and do whatever they had to do to get to my house if tragedy struck.  I would do the exact same thing for them.  Officiating is very rewarding, if you have the right type of mindset.  You have to realize that, for the most part, the coaches and fans aren't yelling at you personally.  They are yelling at that uniform.  If they met you in a restaurant and didn't know you were the official in their game earlier that day, they wouldn't have any problems with you.  Unfortunately, there are a few that can't separate the two.  And, there are too many people who can't handle someone yelling at them.  That's not necessarily a bad thing...it just means you probably don't need to be a sports official.  I can't tell you how many times I've laughed at fans for some of the things they have said to me or about me.  I've even turned around, made eye contact, smiled, and said, "that was a good one."  They love that and will just try to come up with a better one. 

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2022, 10:52:45 AM »
I think one thing wrong is that a lot of parents/fans want the officials to be perfect. They forget that they are human and may make mistakes sometimes. It happens. All I want is consistency. For both teams. As long as that happens, I am good. Unfortunately, there are some officials that are waaay one sided and that bothers me. And this covers all sports, not just baseball. It seems like sometimes, a game is decided by officials other than the play on the field. That should never happen.

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Online jdcatty

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2022, 10:59:16 AM »
Even a lot of P5 schools expect officials to show up and work their scrimmages, spring and fall, for free-- not even mileage.  Friend of mine had to do the Mississippi State Spring game.  And he isn't an SEC official.  He certainly is trying to work his way up to being one, however.

Damn Bobby Petrino!!!  What the Hell was he thinking?

Online USAFHawg

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2022, 11:19:18 AM »
There are a lot of good points in this thread.  The shortage of officials in Arkansas and nationwide is getting worse every year.  I've read where there have been games canceled because there were no officials available to work them.  I personally know a few guys who worked high school football for a few years and then quit because it wasn't worth the money to put up with the coaches every night. 

Unfortunately, many high school coaches (and some college coaches) spend a lot more time during the game trying to do the official's job instead of coaching the players.  My favorite coaches from my career (y'all would know almost all of them by name) were some of the toughest.  I enjoyed working for them because they didn't complain the whole game.  If they thought I missed one, they would let me know or ask about it.  When I tell them that's not the way I saw it, or if that's what happened, I missed it, they don't harp on it and go back to coaching their players.  One of y'all's (woopig) "favorite" coaches had a DC for a couple of years who had been a head coach and that didn't work out so well for him. He was notorious for complaining all game.  He came down one time yelling and screaming at me about a potential pass interference (along with the OC).  I didn't say anything to them because they were just yelling.  The head coach came down, called me by name, and asked me what I had.  I told him, "First, I'm not dealing with either of these two guys," and pointed to his DC and OC.  He said he would take care of them.  I told him what I saw.  He said, "OK, thanks."  I didn't hear a word out of either of them the rest of the game. 

There has been a big push to get more minorities into the college and pro ranks for quite a while now.  I don't have any problems with that as long as they are qualified.  Just put the best officials on the staffs and work the games (I don't care what color you are or what your gender is).  There are several minority football clinics around the country where, from what I've heard (I don't have first-hand knowledge for obvious reasons), anyone is invited who is not a white male (this just mirrors many other aspects of our lives today).  I talked to a white woman a few weeks ago who had been invited to many of them because she has expressed interest in moving into college officiating. 

With all that, I've had more fun over the years on trips and during games working with other officials.  Some of the best true friends I have are football officials from all over the country.  When I say true friends, I mean the types of guys who would drop everything, spend a significant amount of money to travel 1000 miles, and do whatever they had to do to get to my house if tragedy struck.  I would do the exact same thing for them.  Officiating is very rewarding, if you have the right type of mindset.  You have to realize that, for the most part, the coaches and fans aren't yelling at you personally.  They are yelling at that uniform.  If they met you in a restaurant and didn't know you were the official in their game earlier that day, they wouldn't have any problems with you.  Unfortunately, there are a few that can't separate the two.  And, there are too many people who can't handle someone yelling at them.  That's not necessarily a bad thing...it just means you probably don't need to be a sports official.  I can't tell you how many times I've laughed at fans for some of the things they have said to me or about me.  I've even turned around, made eye contact, smiled, and said, "that was a good one."  They love that and will just try to come up with a better one.

Look at how you were treated here for just trying to explain somebody else's calls. The treatment of all officials has become unbearable.

I umpired softball (fast and slow pitch) for years. You couldn't pay me enough to get back out there now.

I'm glad to see you back


Offline arreferee

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Re: Need for officials in kids/high school sports
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2022, 01:28:52 PM »
I think one thing wrong is that a lot of parents/fans want the officials to be perfect. They forget that they are human and may make mistakes sometimes. It happens. All I want is consistency. For both teams. As long as that happens, I am good.

This is exactly true.  And, many of those fans think the official should be fired if he/she makes a mistake.  We have a shortage and those fans want to fire the ones they don't like.  I would be interested to talk to some of those fans when their kid's game is canceled because there are no officials available. 

I found out a long time ago that one of the best things I can tell a combative coach is, "Coach, if that's what happened, I missed it.  I'll do my best to get the next one right."   That shows him I'm humble and am trying to do my best.  I've yet to have a coach have an explosive reaction to that.  Most of them have no reaction at all.  I think most of them were looking for an argument.  When I didn't give them one, they moved on to something else.

Look at how you were treated here for just trying to explain somebody else's calls. The treatment of all officials has become unbearable.

I umpired softball (fast and slow pitch) for years. You couldn't pay me enough to get back out there now.

Yep.  Of course, I knew some of that would come with the territory on a fan board.  I just didn't realize a few folks on here were so closed minded.  I put some of them in the same category as the flat-earthers and people who say we never landed on the moon.  It doesn't matter what you say or how much proof you give them, they will never believe anything other than what's in their head. 

Whether we like to admit it or not, as fans, we see things one sided.  It's amazing how much better I perceived the officiating to be in the NCAA tournament in the games not involving Arkansas.  :)  And, I was trying to be unbiased.  Of course, some of that was also because I don't know much about basketball or basketball officiating.  I've thought about getting in touch with a friend who is a major college basketball official and asking to sit down and watch a game with her so I could understand some of it better.

I'm glad to see you back

Thanks.  I still read all the time, but I probably won't be posting much for now.  I just had to weigh in on this thread and I've seen it happen first-hand over the years. 

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