Tuesday, May 07, 2013

I am dying . . . Redux

My last post sort of indicated that I was dying, or that I wanted to die, or something like that due to a case of "allergies."

My dear friend Jane has informed me that that is not an option.

The good news here is that it rained hard last night and I took a Zirtec.  Either the rain washed away the allergens, the Zirtec helped, or it's a combination of both, but I'm feeling much better.

That is, until I read this article in the NYT this morning.

It's the story of a soccer referee in Salt Lake City who was attacked by a player.  According to the story, the player didn't like the fact he received a yellow card and, while the ref was recording the foul, punched him in the head.  The ref, Ricardo Portillo, has now died from the injury.

It's no accident that this tragedy happened at a youth sports match.  In all the games I've officiated, the lower-level games always, ALWAYS, have the least behaved coaches and parents.  I'm not sure what it is about youth sports that causes this, but I've always maintained that parents should not be allowed anywhere near their children's games.

It happened when I played Little League baseball and at least one of my games was delayed due to opposing parents fighting.

I've had to tell a coach that he would earn himself 15 yards and ejection if he didn't keep his parents under control.

Mrs. Ref refused to go to lower-level games that I worked.

Every month I read stories from around the country and world about game officials being attacked.  And now there's a dead official in Salt Lake City.  More importantly, there's a dead father and grandfather.

This is just one reason why I no longer work youth sport games.

I've often said that there's a lot of theology in sports in general, and in football in particular; but being actually sacrificed to the point of death isn't part of the deal.

I happen to be on the board of my local officiating association.  I will strongly urge our group to require security at youth games for our protection before we agree to work games.

May Ricardo, and the souls of all the departed, rest in peace.

3 comments:

Jane Ellen+ | 9:16 PM, May 10, 2013  

I have a vivid memory from one of my brother's Little League games, of my father having to intervene with an opposing coach. The man was so enraged by some error made by his team of 10-YEAR-OLD BOYS, that he was screaming incoherently, grabbing the chain-link fence around the dugout and shaking it so hard that I thought it might pull loose from the posts. He simply came unglued. Dad and another guy had to physically restrain him (and thankfully were able to do so).

I do not recall what penalty was leveled against the guy; if it were up to me he'd have been thrown out and not allowed to coach in the league ever again.

I think having security at your games is a good idea. Because dying, as I've previously noted, is not.

reynard61 | 1:52 AM, May 17, 2013  

A number of years ago (a depressingly *large* number of years ago...) either my grandfather or my Big Brother (not the 1984 version, the Mentoring Organization version) told me that "Sports builds character." From what I've seen of late, it's been more about building Looney Tunes-style cartoon characters than anything else...

P.S. Yes, I'm the reynard61 from The Slacktivist.

Reverend Ref + | 8:26 AM, May 17, 2013  

Yeah, it does seem like there's an attitude of . . . oh, I don't know . . . entitlement . . . creeping in. The, "How dare you penalize me" scenarios might be escalating.

As an official, the thing that annoys me the most (other that obnoxious parents) are the players who simulate throwing a flag. They do it in such a way that reminds me of a kid in the back seat, "Mom! He touched me!!" and the flag I want to throw is for unsportsmanlike conduct on them.

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't. Thanks for stopping in!

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