Roughing the ref is not acceptable

Why is it perfectly acceptable to treat refs like enemy soldiers?

Why is it perfectly acceptable to treat refs like enemy soldiers?

What kind of person loses their mind over a child’s game, yelling, screaming and throwing hands in the air as if somebody had just bombed the heart of the city?

What mental switch is turned to “ridiculous” as soon as a score clock is lit up? And in what coaching manual does it say, “have a tantrum, scream, throw your arms in the air, give the evil eye, slam the door, and don’t shake the hand of a ref” if you don’t get your way? No manual I’ve ever read. I don’t think those strategies are in any parenting manual either, come to think of it.

Watching and being involved in Red Deer Ringette and Red Deer Minor Hockey over the past 12 years as a parent and a friend have created some amazing memories. There have been exciting moments, heartbreak, frustrations and celebrations, and they are all worth remembering.

I love all sports, both major and minor, admire the dedication and passion of the coaches, and have nothing but kudos for most of them. Unfortunately, the poor behaviour of an alarming number of coaches and fans from all over the province is cause for concern.

The children on hockey and ringette teams are there to learn from their coaches. If coaches are watching the referee and flailing around pointing out reffing errors, where is the coaching energy going? Not to the players, who need adult insight and guidance, but to the referee, who, quite frankly, doesn’t need or remotely desire the hostile input.

Referees make mistakes. They are not out to “get” anyone and they are not waking up in the morning to target any one team. They are there because they love the game as much as the players and want it to be a great experience for youngsters.

Coaches and parents who leave their good sense and good sportsmanship in the parking lot need to stop and think. Who are you there for?

What if no refs showed up for your game? And where else in our society is it acceptable to literally freak out and scream at someone publicly with no consequence?

Give the refs a break, the kids will love you for it.

Sheila Fowler-Greene

Red Deer

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