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Old Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:40am
waltjp waltjp is offline
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Originally posted by James Neil
All this youth league and flag bashing has got me in tears. You poor guys LOL No really; it is too bad it’s so bad in some places. Maybe I can lighten up this thread a little. Where I live there’s a very disciplined Pop Warner youth league. They have a zero-tolerance for bad behavior and it’s actually a pleasure to work games for them. Last week I worked a play-off game with a crew of two 4-year guys, a 2-year guy, and a rookie. We did an extensive pre-game with “keep the whistle out of your mouth and flag in your pants” as the main points of emphasis. We reminded both coaches before the game that they were responsible for maintaining proper decorum on their respective sidelines, including keeping unruly fans in line. The game went well and we all had a pretty good time. Most plays ended with a single whistle, very few flags and not an IW among us, . After the game, which turned into a 28-0 romp, the losing Coach came up to thank us, saying he thought we did an excellent job. I know it doesn’t sound right does it? LOL .
Sounds great. I think most games probably go something like you describe. Unfortunately, it's the ugly situations that get all the ink.

The best experience I've had as a football official occurred about 5 years ago in a youth game. It was the final game of the season. The home team, a perennial power in this league, had an awful season. They lost their star running back in week 1 with a broken arm. I worked that game also.

They posted their first losing season in years and were closing out the regular schedule with a home game against one of the biggest rivals. The game got out of hand early and the visiting coach just kept piling it on.

It's not late in the 4th quarter the home team is trailing by 4 or 5 touchdowns. On a third down play the home team QB drops back to pass and is sacked. The home coach calls for a TO. I'm expecting him to vent a season's worth of frustrations on his team.

Instead, he calmly walks into the huddle and gathers his players around. He goes on to discuss that the coverage they just say is what they practiced against all week. He reviews their blocking assignments and gives them a final word of encouragement as he tells them to play like a team for the final few minutes of the season.

This was a team of 7th and 8th graders. The coach was going to lose most of his starters to high school the next season. What did he have to gain by continuing to coach to the end? Well, for one thing, he gained my undying respect.

When the game ended I made a point to let him know that I thought he had just done the best thing you could ever ask of a coach. He treated his players with respect.
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