Thursday, October 8, 2015

Where It All Starts

Recently we were treated to a fantastic perspective from Paul Levy regarding High School athletics in his article "Part of the school day." In this article he details the scenario where as referees we may occasionally run into a coach, who is also responsible for athletes that are students, and acts in a way contrary to what they should be teaching as educators. It is a worthy read that I commented on as it is a hot topic as we entered the high school soccer season.

I bring this up because, as a juxtaposition, I have recently been witness to an event that we as referees should remember when it comes to dealing with players ... many coaches take their role as educators very seriously.

There was a recent event with a player on Jr.'s high school team where a player was admonished by a referee and cautioned. While I was not there, from what was described to me, the caution was for dissent.

Now for many you would think the story ended there (and as a referee sometimes I left a field thinking it did) boy would I have been wrong in this case.

Just the other day I received an email both from the parent and the coach of the player making an apology and assuring the whole team (or family as he called it) knew the behavior was not acceptable and we (the team) will work together on it. I was truly heartened by the notes. Keep in mind, I was not the referee, Jr. is a teammate to this player!!

It was amazing to see a group of people own up to what happened, not make any excuses, and gather themselves to make it better next time out. No one in their right mind could ask for anything more.

I was personally humbled by the comments shared as it showed respect for the referee for being subjected to the behavior, solidarity for the team to work together, and compassion for the individual player who can learn from the whole thing.

As referees we need to remember that when we share 80 minutes of the road with some of these young men and women, we are not seeing the whole picture. We are not the first nor last line of defense when it comes to guarding the integrity of The Game. Today I was again reminded parents and coaches have a significant hand to play in there and are far more involved than we are in our role as referee. #respect

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