All year long, high school athletes train to the point of exhaustion, all for the game.
Not for practice, for the game. A game under the lights and in front of their fans, including their parents, and some parents put so much pressure on their child to perform in hopes of receiving that coveted collegiate scholarship that it causes tension in the stands.
I know a NCAA Division I coach who dropped one of the kids [a boys' basketball player] he was recruiting from consideration because of the way the mom and dad acted at a game. They were yelling at officials, other players and criticizing coaching strategy. He said he pulled the offer because he didn't want those parents around his program, he felt they would be cancerous.
Strong words? Maybe. But that's how he felt. This idea that your behavior as a parent doesn't reflect how others will view your child as a result is naive.
What those parents were not thinking about as their faces were beet red and they were yelling, is who they were yelling at didn’t ask to be berated. Sure, you want your child to succeed, you want your team to succeed and that's understandable, but there is a line.
These men and women are not out there because this is their full-time job. Rather it is a hobby.
My uncle was referee for over 40 years. He had his own company, and refereed because he loved the game. Most officials only make $60 to $70 a game while giving up a night with their families. They are normal people, and they did not sign up for you to come yell at them, badger them, make comments about them, personal or otherwise. They are there for the love of the game, and they are a very integral part of it. We can't lose sight of that.
Imagine working a full day's work and then going to a gym full of irate fans, I would run the other way, myself. Fan is short for fanatic, and most fans are just that -- fanatic. Biased toward their team (and rightfully so) or don't know the rules.
I’m not saying don’t ever show emotion, I’m simply asking you to remember before you step out of bounds, that these referees are people too.
Megan Huston is the sports editor at The Meteor. She can be reached at 936-348-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.