The OSAA published this letter a few weeks ago (see below) and I thought that it was worth sending out to the high school community. While Valley Catholic is certainly not the most inhospitable place for officials, I think we can all acknowledge that, from time to time and without naming names, there have been players, coaches, parents, and maybe even a current principal, who have expressed disappointment in a call or two and have let that be known to the officials, the team, and the surrounding fans. Let’s try to do better…to be better.
When I was coaching football I would tell parents and players at the beginning of the season that I never thanked an official for a win and I never blamed an official for a loss. Emotions run high, especially in gyms, and especially during basketball games where the action is often fast-paced and physical and where the fans are very close to the court. Let’s do our best to be positive when supporting our kids and not make the officials the focal point. Their job is hard enough.
Dear Mom and Dad: Cool it
By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Oregon School Activities Association.
If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete here in Oregon, this message is primarily for you.
When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.
Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Oregon has an alarming shortage of high school officials.
It’s true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse.
Plus, there’s a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren’t enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of licensed high school officials is severe enough in some areas that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled—especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels.
Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitates the physical and emotional development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren’t enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an “L” on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community’s future.
If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become a licensed official at HighSchoolOfficials.com. Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events here in Oregon are always welcome.
February 18 | No School
February 23 | VCS Gala
February 25 | Spring Sports Practice Begins