Referees have feelings, too

I was 16 when I was asked to coach my little brother’s 12-under team at Boys Club of Honolulu (now known as Boys and Girls Club of Honolulu). That was fun. Strange, different and fun.

A few years later, while I was in college, a friend who coached in the ILH asked me to help as a referee in the summer intermediate league. I had no experience, but I knew the rules well enough. That got me to the title game that summer and at $5 per contest, I learned two things: 1. Kids appreciate honesty, and 2. parents and fans will always yell.

I didn’t mind the yelling. But I could hardly stand it when a few parents kept screaming for calls — and they didn’t know the rules. Take the 3-second call in the key. There were parents begging for it even though the ball was being shot continuously (this was a league for 12- and 13-year-olds). They didn’t know that the 3-second call restarts with each shot. In fact, I heard at least two parents complaining about it this season at two different gyms.

Anyway, I later did some reffing in the 1990s to help a friend who ran the P&R league in Kona. It’s rewarding when the players are 5 to 14 years old. But I don’t miss it. That’s why this two-part post by about refereeing and sportsmanship by fans is interesting to me, and maybe to other folks who have done it before.

Here’s Alan Stein’s piece, titled “Ref You Suck”. In part 2, he shares the perspective of a longtime referee from Nebraska named Scott Long.

Just some thoughts from “the other side” as high school playoff season gets into full gear in the islands.


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