The Referee Conundrum
“Coach that is your first and final warning.”
This phrase has become commonplace at most sporting events across the United States. The frequency of statements like this from officials isn’t from ill tempered coaches; but from lack of game knowledge, experience, and maturity it takes to correctly officiate a sporting event. It is unfortunate that the relationship between coaches and officials has become such hostile territory and the time has come to neutralize arms. Players and coaches prepare for months of preseason and spend hundreds of hours in season to be the best they can be; officials should be required participation in clinics taught by the coaches they will officiate in the upcoming or current season. If the relationship between coaches and officials became reciprocal, the officials would learn more about the sport, call a better game, and in turn, silence the sideline. The solution to this problem is no easy fix, but in reality it shouldn’t be that hard.
Referee education clinics should be required monthly during lacrosse season. These education clinics need to be sponsored by different schools, taught by multiple coaches from different programs, and taken very seriously. If the current relationship between coaches and officials continues, lacrosse will end up like the Motown meltdown. The unions wanted too much control, too high of pay, and now the big auto companies are shipping out to China in order to lower labor costs and turn a profit.
In order to avoid a cataclysmic meltdown in the lacrosse world, a meltdown that is fueled daily by awful calls like a 95 lb freshman spearing call in the open field with NO OPPOSING PLAYER within ten yards (he looks down when he runs because he is very uncoordinated and confused on the field); officials organizations must partner with the coaches in order to receive help to better them as officials, better the game by letting it be played how it’s supposed to be played, and allowing coaches to keep their hair because the frustration level has dropped exponentially.
In order for this to work all teams must have one, if not all of its coaches certified by the officials association. If the coaches understood what the officials are learning they can help explain the “slang”, so to say, of making calls i.e. a brush is not a slash. An easy analogy to understand the official problem is this: How can you grade a paper written in English, if you are not fluent in English? So I ask the officials who butcher my favorite game day after day: How can you referee a lacrosse game, when you have never played, learned or studied lacrosse?