That being said, a basketball official in Iowa has done this. Now, he hasn't specifically named names or anything; he's in the gray zone where I wouldn't want to find myself on this issue. And an article in the Des Moines Register has picked up on these little snippets and hailed them as worthy of being viral due to their truth.
The article was written by Aaron Young on January 24, 2017, about Rich Ripley. Ripley has recorded his thoughts from officiating over the past five years, which may explain one of the reasons why it hasn't occurred to him that this isn't a great idea. A five year official may not have the frame of mind to think about how this could be detrimental. Alternatively, the state of Iowa may just not have caught up.
With all this on the table, the thoughts from Ripley are spot on. And the truth that comes from these quotes hit home for officials. Here are the examples shared in the article (edited for grammar, of course):
- "Let's be honest: some players are just little [censored]. They know it. Their teammates know it. We know it. Their coaches know it. The other team certainly knows it. Mom and Dad...not so much."
- "'What game are you watching?'...We're not fans, parents, classmates, or relatives. We don't care who wins...only that the rules are upheld. Yes...we miss some stuff."
- "The average official runs 2-2.5 miles every game. Figure that most officials work two games a night and you've got middle-aged men, wearing dress slacks, running with whistles in their mouths trying to see what's going on in a pack of ten teenage players who are trying to figure out why everyone's yelling at them. Sounds like a recipe for disaster...but it's usually fun. Right?"
- "There's NO SUCH FOUL as OVER THE BACK. Why would there be a rule about being able to jump higher than your opponent in front of you and getting a rebound?"
- "To the cheerleaders: you look darling. Stay out of my way. I've been running two freaking miles...and #32 is a [censored]. I've got my eye on him."
- "To the players: I hope that you're having fun. I'm rooting for you."
- "To the coaches: I hope that your hard work doesn't go unnoticed. I appreciate it. Toughest job in the community."
We find ourselves preaching the same thing over and over again: the officials of any sport are human. The best officials are working the professional leagues; as you go down in level and rank, the officiating follows it. (That's not to say there aren't any good officials for high school contests; the probability of human error just may increase.) These types of thoughts go through the minds of every official at all different points of their season. They are the common problems we all face in the fraternal order of officials.
In addition to everything the officials feel and think, keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of officials do support the kids/players and their volunteer coaches. They want everybody to have a good time. The hard work that everybody puts in does not go unnoticed.
In fact, if there's one thing to take from all this, it should be this: the best coaches and players are not necessarily the ones who garner the most victories, but rather who notice, understand, and accept the fact that the officials put in just as much (if not more) time, effort, and hard work as they do.