The Bitter Referee

First rule of the Ref club, know where you are.

First rule of the Ref club, remember which sport you are reffing.

The Seattle Seahawks have been pretty famous for being on the beneficial side of calls in the last few years.  There was the “Fail Mary” call about three years ago on Monday Night Football, and there was the call about the fumble in the end zone that  allowed them to win earlier this year.

You know how all jobs, while pretty they are pretty much the worst, still have some sort of benefit somewhere down the line? Like a garbage man while having to deal with everyone else’s stinky crap all day at least they know that there is less garbage on the streets or a teacher while having a bad salary and little benefits still have a few weeks off in the summer in which to find another job that might pay them some real money and they are affecting kids lives somehow.

Jobs are the worst.

Jobs are the worst.

Well being a referee, there is no benefit at all.  Especially if they don’t get paid. Your job as a ref is to make sure that out of all 25 billion rules that have been written about stuff, you know each of them intimately.  And you ruin players lives, fans lives, fantasy leagues money lives and even yours because you decided to be a ref.

I remember being almost forced into being a ref a few times just so I would be allowed to play basketball.  I mostly “swallowed the whistle” meaning I just let the people play and got torched because things got out of hand.  But then I would call a foul and they got mad because I called a foul.  It was an unwinnable job that I didn’t want to do and didn’t even get paid for.

200 (22)

One of the perks of being a ref. The possibility of being heinously injured.

Being a dad or a mom has many thankless jobs, but the least glorious and never winningiest one is being a referee. You are constantly asked to break up fights, declare winners, and make decisions that are as fair as Solomon and the other greatest judges in the history of the land.

“Dad, brother hit me.”

“Dad, sister hit me first.”

“Well he was looking at me funny.”

“Well she was touching my side of the car.”

“Well he was looking at my french fries.”

A flag is thrown up in the air. I turn my mic on, so everyone can hear. “Please come to the judgement table and I shall make my decision.”

“Sister, when we get home, you are to sit in the living room and talk to people.” (She is an introvert.)

“Brother, you are to sit in your room and not talk to people.” (He is an extrovert.)

“Not fair, I want an appeal. Why does he get to go to his room? That is so unfair.  I’m never talking to you ever again.”

“Come on, dad, why does she get to stay out and talk to people? I’m telling mom on you when she gets back. She always let me hit sister.”

“I need to confer with my line judge, the field judge and the back judge.”

Minutes of restless arguing in the backseat of the car, I come to the middle of the car and turn on the mic once again.  “After a review of the arguments made, it has been determined that the decision with sister will stand.  Also the one with brother will stand.  Also, sister you will talk to me again, because if you don’t, your tablet will be taken away.  And brother, we know that mom never condones violence.  If you say that again, you will be further punished by having your Nerf Gun arsenal confiscated.”


Ummm….you can’t do that. 

Sister disagrees and stomps off to her room with her tablet, and brother continues to argue with me while shooting Nerf bullets at me because he’s mad.

The life of a referee.


Bitter Referaaaaggghhhh Ben


22 thoughts on “The Bitter Referee

  1. I have a good buddy who is a high school football ref. He gets screamed at by everyone at some point each game. He’s obviously wrong fifty percent of the time even when right. He does it because he played college ball and still enjoys being part of the sport. To me he certainly is a good sport…to put up with all that weekly bitterness.


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