Get out of the seats and make some calls

So, you are sitting in the stands watching your son or daughter (or grandson, or niece, or granddaughter, or family friend, etc.) play.

Varsity, junior varsity, middle school, even non-school competition, it doesn’t matter.

Inevitably, there is a bad call by an official. At least it looks bad from your perspective in the stands. You make sure you let the official know you think he or she missed the call.

Funny how it seems you are always a little louder when criticizing a call that goes against your kid’s team. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone yelling at a ref or umpire when a controversial call went in that fan’s favor.

Anyway, since you played many years ago and still keep up with the game, it’s your right to let those officials know they blew one, right?

Well here’s another way you can show those officials how badly they are doing. Come down out of the stands and join them.

Officiating classes for both basketball and baseball/softball will begin in January. Classes will be held in the spring and-or summer for football, volleyball, soccer, etc., and the people running the officiating organizations in the area are always looking for bodies.

You can call Bob Sudzina at 330-727-3098 for basketball information and Andy Holloman at 330-360-3439 for baseball and softball. Officiating and umpiring classes will be starting in January.

I once was that guy in the stands letting the officials know when they missed a call. I mean, I could see it all from there, I had a great vantage point. Plus, I had umpired in summer youth baseball leagues, so I had an idea what it was like. I just knew I could do it better than those guys out there.

With that in mind, I decided to get my license for officiating baseball and soccer for high school games.

Let me say this about my experiences. The men and women out there on the fields and courts take what they are doing seriously and they do their best to know the rules of the games they are officiating.

NONE OF THEM ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY, since the money involved is minuscule at best.

During the instruction and in the preseason meetings attended by all officials, there was much discussions of rule interpretations, positioning, handling difficult situations, etc. They don’t just send people out there and hope for the best.

I ended up umpiring high school baseball for 10 years and soccer for five. (I also did track and field for a year).

Did I miss calls? I’m sure I did, but in all the games I did, I tried my best to impartially process what I was seeing or had just seen, and make the proper call (or non-call) based on that information.

One thing I did discover — aside from the fact that in soccer I tended to allow aggressive players to get away with too much — is that the view from the stands really isn’t that good after all.

It is really difficult at times to officiate sports, especially soccer and basketball, and more often than not, those who are doing it are doing it well.

Since I stopped umpiring, I have played softball and have coached my grandson in various sports. And yes, when I see an umpire or official out of position or if I think they have missed a call, I will quietly (most of the time) and respectfully let them know.

The men and women officiating your kid’s games are not going to get all the calls right.

Instead of berating them loudly for that fact — and making a public fool of yourself in the meantime — get down out of the stands and try to do it yourself.

It can make you a better fan.