Sunday Confessional: My New Found Respect for Umpires/Officials


Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

You should learn something new every day. I learned on Saturday that refereeing or umpiring is a lot tougher than it looks. I discovered that when I was refereeing for a good majority of nine hours at a 4-6th grade boys basketball tournament.

You quickly find out that coaches are quite passionate about their 10-year-olds and the supposed things I should be or should not be calling. Then add in the crazy parents, a selection of them not knowing what rules apply to basketball and which ones apply to hockey, it’s really an experience.

From the bench and the stands, it looks easy as you yell out every call. It’s not that simple in the heat of the moment and right down on the court. Every time you blow your whistle or make a judgment, you could be affecting the game as a whole. The position simply holds a lot of power.

After my experience, I can see where umpires and referees can get stuff insanely wrong. I don’t think I got anything wrong in my refereeing, but if you gave me video evidence proving the contrary, I’d be able to admit it. At the level I was officiating you have to let some stuff slide so a game can actually be played, but that’s beside the point.

In the heat of the moment, calls will be missed, just because officials are humans. They try their hardest, but there’s just so much to watch and a lot of close calls.

Be it a football ref, basketball ref or baseball umpire, I have a new found respect for them all.

Officials, I have given you all a lot of crap, I still will, but I now know it’s not as easy as it looks.