No shortage of reffing challenges

Posted: May 26, 2023

Low reffing numbers make it hard to schedule games

“The quarterback had just thrown for Bethel and the St. John’s guy hit him,” said Josh Thurow when talking about his experience as a referee.

“So that wasn’t roughing the passer, but he took him for three steps and then drove him into the ground. So, I threw the flag and called roughing the passer not because of the timing of the hit, but the se- verity of the hit afterwards and when I reported that 7000 People did yell at me very loudly, but that didn’t make me want to not referee anymore.”

While this may not affect Thurow as a seasoned referee, it can take a toll on the less experienced younger referees.

“I think for the younger officials who are getting into the game, it’s tough because it takes a few years to not hear as much complaining from fans,” said Thurow. “I think that can be a cause of why we don’t have enough officials.”

As a result of this youth sports referees have been on a steep decline in the past few years.

Above: Junior Zeke Barbatsis takes a swing at the ball in a game vs. Providence Academy. The Boys Baseball team is currently off to a 3-8 record and is currently placed in 4th in the IMAC Conference.

In fact approximately 50,000 referees have stopped na- tionwide since the 2019 season according to a survey done by the NFHS (The National Federation of State High School Associations).

There is a lot more than meets the eye to being a referee. These brave individuals constantly face heckling, unfair treatment, and verbal abuse, whether it be an upset player or a rampaging parent.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the right call or the wrong,” said Junior Evan Paton, who is a youth soccer refer- ee and also a member of Minnehaha’s soccer team. “They will always get mad because the call went against their team which can get frustrating because it makes it hard to call the game.”

While these obstacles make it very hard to consistently sort and hire enough referees to cover games across the state, we at Minnehaha are very lucky we don’t have this problem.

“I have very good connections in the officiating com- munity, because I do referee so we haven’t had any trouble,” said Josh Thurow.

Relationships are a key factor, and in the reffing com- munity a good relationship can go a long way.

“We’ve been really fortunate,” reported Thurow. “If I stay organized with our schedule, I can get officials for nearly everything.”

Luckily for Minnehaha Academy we have this connec- tion. Other schools might not have the same ability and struggle with sorting out referees.

Despite the cons, refereeing is more than just the par- ents.

“A thing I love about refereeing is that I get to teach young kids how to play the game of soccer,” said Paton. “1 also enjoy watching the game so being able to see kids younger than me and their potential.”

“I like being in a game where people care a lot about it and are passionate about it, trying to make the right call at the right time,” said Thurow.

All in all referees are a pressing need in our current day, while the job may come with its liabilities, a lot of people enjoy being a part in keeping sports active.

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