Volume 95, Issue 2

Thursday, May 31, 2001


Takin' it to the street

History of sport lands at UWO

An ode to the humble men and women in stripes

An ode to the humble men and women in stripes

For whom the bell tolls

Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

They're forced to decide the fate of numerous amounts of people, deal with loads of hostility and maintain some semblance of order in an energized atmosphere.

I'm not talking about the leaders of the world's nations; I'm talking about referees.

There is an epidemic emerging in the modern sports world. The complete disrespect of referees in professional, college, amateur and even house-league athletics has become rampant. Tear ducts are flowing and the whining has developed into an out-of-control phenomenon.

As I sat down and watched the National Basketball Association playoffs over the last few weeks, I was absolutely appalled at the lack of sportsmanship and respect, and the prevalence of cry-baby antics shown by some (basically all) of the competitors on the court.

When did referees become the least knowledgeable people on the playing field? They didn't.

The problem is the narcissistic attitude of the modern day athlete.

The plight of this 21st century athlete begins early in life, when parents continuously berate officials with derogatory comments and gestures. The youth sports world is inundated with stories of absurdly violent acts against officials.

And the continuing saga manifests itself even further when athletes (and role models) such as Vince Carter of the Toronto Raptors and tennis star Martina Hingis whine and argue to referees. Allen Iverson, the most valuable player in the NBA, is arguably the most prolific cry-baby of the bunch.

Whatever happened to "taking it like a man" and letting your play on the field decide the outcome. Now, I will be the first to admit officials aren't on-the-ball 100 per cent of the time, but over the course of a contest, I find it hard to believe referees can decide the entire outcome.

Ironically, athletes actually believe their verbal abuse is assisting their cause. Being a referee for the past three years, I can guarantee that "do you have shit in your eyes?" isn't going to get you a dinner invitation after the game, let alone a call.

This blasphemy isn't confined to basketball. It manifests itself in every arena of sports where officials are deciding the calls. Football, baseball, hockey and tennis among others all have a claim.

I'm not going to attempt to verify that every athlete who plays an officiated sport is a whining, out-of-control cry-baby. But take a minute to look at yourself in the mirror. When is the last time you raised an eye at a call or mumbled a profanity-laced tirade under your breath?

In this age of the technological revolution, I'm calling for another revolution. It's the referee's revolution, whereby these intelligent, well-trained people will actually be seen as living, breathing organisms and will finally be enlisted in the human race.

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