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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 08:36am
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I referee a lot of youth league games in between high school games and during the off-season. There isn't as much of a fan problem at regular school games because there are police and school administrators at the sites.

At youth leagues though, such as BCI and AAU as well as various other leagues, there are times where parents (fans) and coaches really get out of line.

I am concerned that something is going to end in violence and innocent people are going to get hurt really bad. I've seen quite a few instances of incredible anger directed at the officials. Are you ever concerned for your own safety since these leagues seldom have anybody available to monitor the fans?

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen, and all it takes is one irate, drunk fan to pull a gun or knife and the consequences could be horrendous.

Fans need a reality check. They get way too involved in their kid's games and ruin it for everybody.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 09:21am
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I hear what you're saying Dave. During the HS season, I really don't take any or much youth games. However, in the offseason, I like to work game a couple of times per week. We've thrown around those same concerns you expressed many times and have seen some of it ourselves.

One of the things I try to do is make sure I have a good partner when working those types of games. That makes a huge huge difference in the amount of fan/ coach/ player BS. Also, my tolerence during these games is almost nil. Since I've seen so many of these coaches, they all know we will work hard and to call our best game and make sure nothing gets out of hand, they usually leave us alone. I also won't take games if I know that league admin or tournament director won't support us.

Usually with these type games, there's not really a secluded place for us to go when a game is completed and this is oftentimes when crap might happen. I try to stay to the center of the court so that I can see if someone is approaching me and so can everyone else. Usually, if they look angry or want to complain, I stop sign em and let them know the game is over and they need to clear the court. If they proceed, I will walk farther away or walk towards game admin.

As far as anything physical happening, I don't spend alot of time worring about it as I'm 6'6" 240 and have several years of martial arts training. Although, I hope to never ever have to apply it. I believe I can disarm most anyone verbally. I think there are alot more dangerous places to go then a BB court.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 10:18am
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Quote:
Originally posted by dave30

At youth leagues though, such as BCI and AAU as well as various other leagues, there are times where parents (fans) and coaches really get out of line.

I am concerned that something is going to end in violence and innocent people are going to get hurt really bad. I've seen quite a few instances of incredible anger directed at the officials. Are you ever concerned for your own safety since these leagues seldom have anybody available to monitor the fans?

Our local association will simply not assign officials to any rec or youth leagues that have these types of problems. It's just not worth it. If we do happen to run into a problem- which we do occasionally- then that league had better clean up that problem immediately. If they don't, they can do their games themselves.

Zero tolerance iow. Works for us.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 10:26am
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I too work a lot of BCI and AAU both during the season and the off season. I have three championships this afternoon.

I've never personally been concerned for my safety however I know of at least one instance when a friend of mine was head butted by an irate parent. (I'm not sure what came of it, whether charges were filed or not. I'll phone him later and post a follow up.)

I did get approached during half-time by a relatively famous college football coach whose daughter was playing in a 12 and under game that was being played aggresively. My partner and I were no-calling contact that was being played through and the howlers were howling. Famous dad came toward me with a smile and I'm thinking he may want to say hi or whatever. Instead he barks that we better call fouls and that's his daughter getting hacked. I guess he thought it would make a difference if I had that extra piece of info. I lost what little respect I had for him.

One problem I've had with these BCI/AAU tournament formats is the games can be scheduled too tight. I've had tournament directors say prior to a game that we're running behind and don't call a close game. Then we'll get a 12 and under girls game that's a thug fest. The howlers howl.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 10:49am
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Quote:
Originally posted by basketballen
I've had tournament directors say prior to a game that we're running behind and don't call a close game. Then we'll get a 12 and under girls game that's a thug fest. The howlers howl.
basketballen,
Yet, those TDs would probably still want a safe game, I assume. Use your judgement not the TDs' empty words.
It's your game and your responsibility.
mick

Welcome to the forum.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 11:41am
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Thumbs up

Mick:
Agreed.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 11:42am
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Quote:
Originally posted by basketballen
I've had tournament directors say prior to a game that we're running behind and don't call a close game.
Anytime someone tells you that, tell them "If you're worried about the schedule, shorten the second half. I'm more worried about the kids' safety." That'll shut 'em up.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 11:55am
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Quote:
Originally posted by mick



Welcome to the forum.
Thanks. I've been reading this forum for a few years. I posted a few times under the username baseballen.

I enjoy reading the various situations and rules references and I commend your monitoring of the banter; letting the threads follow their inevitable course.

Chuck:
For the most part I nod my head and then ignore 'em and call the game.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 12:28pm
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I think I can make a case that I have officiated more youth games than anyone else on this forum - over 2000. Most of them have been in our local rec league, of which I was a Board member for 14 years. Even though we have over 120 teams, most everyone knew I was on the Board, so I really never had a serious problem with a parent.

One thing I have taught other refs, especially the younger ones, is that when you get a parent who is approaching "out of control" behavior, get the coach involved immediately. The other thing is to tell the parent that if they don't knock it off, their kid will be kicked out of the league. Even though that's not true, it usually stops them in their tracks because they don't know if that's the case or not.
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 11:36pm
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I sat and just watched the fans today during a 4th grade boys championship game. My partner and I had already finished and went over to watch the last 4 minutes of this game. It was well-called by a couple of veteran officials. I still could not believe some of the comments I heard from fans in the stands. It wasn't your typical "go back to foot locker comment"...it was pure hatred ! Also, the games run back to back all day. This was the last game so the refs had an opportunity to leave as soon as it was over, but not before the losing parent and one coach came straight at the refs spouting obscenities and saying they were cheated.

I just cannot understand the mindset of a grown human being who can get that caught up and that intense about who wins a 4th grade boys game! It is ridiculous! How can a person live that way? And we wonder why there is so much violence and lack of respect for teachers, police, etc. These parents have no control of themselves, much less control of their kids.

I think it is just sad.... Are there any organizations out there to teach youth players and parents how to behave more responsibly?

[Edited by dave30 on Jan 22nd, 2006 at 11:38 PM]
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Old Sun Jan 22, 2006, 11:49pm
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These parents have no control of themselves, much less control of their kids.

I think it is just sad.... Are there any organizations out there to teach youth players and parents how to behave more responsibly?

[Edited by dave30 on Jan 22nd, 2006 at 11:38 PM] [/B][/QUOTE]
I think basketball can be that organization, I take no [email protected] from players one word about a call is good enough for atleast a tech call, and if I hear stuff from fans I warn the coach. I have given the coach a Tech for his fans before. Why can't you rec league basketball be this organization?
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Old Mon Jan 23, 2006, 12:41am
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I do have a zero tolerance rule myself and usually do not have problems. It is hard though when you get no backing from the gym or tournament administrators who just tell you to ignore the fans. I am not really worried about what the fans do for myself. My concern is for the kids who have to hear it and think it is OK to act that way. I also have concern for the young inexperienced referee who may end up getting hurt if there is a confrontation. If you have one of those games where both team's fans are out of contrul, you can T coaches, toss them, T the team because of fans, toss a few, and get it under control. Then the problem will escalate as those fans start jumping on the tournament directors who need the teams for the revenue, etc....it just keeps mushrooming. I've seen it happen before.
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Old Mon Jan 23, 2006, 01:04am
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Quote:
Originally posted by dave30
I do have a zero tolerance rule myself and usually do not have problems. It is hard though when you get no backing from the gym or tournament administrators who just tell you to ignore the fans. I am not really worried about what the fans do for myself. My concern is for the kids who have to hear it and think it is OK to act that way. I also have concern for the young inexperienced referee who may end up getting hurt if there is a confrontation. If you have one of those games where both team's fans are out of contrul, you can T coaches, toss them, T the team because of fans, toss a few, and get it under control. Then the problem will escalate as those fans start jumping on the tournament directors who need the teams for the revenue, etc....it just keeps mushrooming. I've seen it happen before.
GOOD POINT. I agree I think their is a fine line.
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Old Mon Jan 23, 2006, 01:34am
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Quote:
Originally posted by dave30
Then the problem will escalate as those fans start jumping on the tournament directors who need the teams for the revenue, etc..
This is a big part of the problem. TD's won't crack down because they need the money.

But the other half of the equation is the parents who have what I call the "Lisa Leslie Complex". I think professional psychiatrists call it Little League Syndrome.

When my daughter was playing youth stuff, she was getting onto higher and higher level teams, because she was, well, (modest cough here) very good. At one level, we finally told the coach that if he got one more T, we'd remove our daughter from his team. It was simply pathetic to see the girls (especially his own daughter) parenting the coach. We didn't return to him the next year. Other parents wouldn't complain because they thought this guy could get their girls moved up.

In fact, there was one coach here who...

oh, dear you pushed my buttons. Anyway, you get the idea.
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Old Mon Jan 23, 2006, 03:41am
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We have one dad who runs the clock for us when his daughter plays. He's one who "gets it". Win or lose, he supports his kid and shows respect to the officials. He was at his daughter's game tonight, but someone else ran the clock for us. He sat in the chairs across from the stands where we usually go between games. He said he didn't want to sit with the other parents for obvious reasons! So they're not all bad !
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