Hey, you. Yes, you. The guy screaming at the referee during a high school basketball game. You’re embarrassing yourself.
On Thursday night, I was covering the Morro Bay/Nipomo basketball game at Morro Bay High School and one such guy could not be ignored. Late in the fourth quarter, Nipomo had a big lead when one of the refs had the audacity to call an obvious foul on a Morro Bay player.
Having seen enough, the man in the stands decided to loudly critique the referee’s abilities in the quiet gym. He capped his vitriolic rant directed at the ref with this:
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Actually, guy, it is. The average high school referee gets training from the Los Padres Basketball Official’s Association (LPBOA), but doesn’t make nearly enough money working a game to make a living.
The referee, who is definitely not a professional referee, didn’t turn around to see this classy sports fan, and neither did I. I was too busy reporting on the game, but trust me, I know the type. We all know the type. By using only my ears, I can only guess that this guy was the worst kind of fan.
The 89 high school basketball referees in the LPBOA are just normal people who enjoy the game and are paid pennies. They don’t deserve to be ripped in front of a crowd of people, no matter how much you disagree with the call. Also, being the normal people they are, you can bet if there is a 50/50 call later in the game, they are not going to give it to the team with the idiot fan. Trust me, you’re hurting your school’s team more than you’re helping it.
More than that, it’s just awkward for everyone else. Unlike at football games in big stadiums, basketball referees are close enough to easily hear every word yelled their way. What if the ref’s day job is a mechanic? Do you really want the guy who you called an idiot from the stands after that traveling call under your hood?
And I hate to use this card but, think of the children. Is that really the example you want to set?
Let the coaches complain. They know what they’re talking about, you don’t. They have relationships with the refs, you don’t. If you want to boo or hiss, that’s cool. It’s the targeted heckling that separates the good fan from the bad.
I got another dose of referee heckling Friday night at the Mission Prep/Atascadero game in Atascadero. This time I got a good look at the guy from across the court. He was a red-faced man wearing a Coors Banquet beer T-shirt. (No further comment)
My advice to all the angry fans at a high school basketball games: chill, dude. Tell the guy next to you it was a bad call, write down your thoughts in the journal you keep hidden under the bed. Torture a zebra-stripped voodoo doll for all I care. It’s OK to be upset with a call, just don’t attack the ref on a personal level.
It doesn’t matter if your kid is in the game. A couple bad calls isn’t going to keep him or her from getting a full scholarship to Stanford, and they would probably like it better if you shut up. But if you have that much rage in your heart that you need to get out, why don’t you go home and yell at your TV during a Lakers game?
The rest of us are trying to enjoy some hoops.