Dear Ref:

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: children, Parenting | Tags: , , , , |

Dear Referree:

I know that moms are overprotective sometimes. I’m guilty, but not often. I don’t step in when they argue with their friends – I know they have to work it out. It’s part of maturing.

But there are times I can’t sit idly by and watch my daughter be treated unfairly.

That’s exactly what you did, sir.

She’s 15. She’s a sophomore. Sure, she’s 5’10” and a starter on the Varsity basketball team. But she earned that spot. She works hard. Very hard. She gives it her all, knowing that the other players have more experience than she does. I commend her for that.

But it seems that you don’t.

When you blew the whistle when she was in mid-air under the net, I thought you were calling a foul against the other team who knocked her with an elbow. Boy, was I surprised when your eyes turned to her, the one who wasn’t guilty of a foul.

She does foul. It’s part of the defensive strategy of a physical game. But this time she didn’t.

So, why did you walk up to her on the court and with eyes that turned into daggers, came inches away from her face in a stare down? There were four schools at the tournament that day and a lot of fans and you decided to humiliate my daughter in front of them.

The stare down lasted so long that I was moving forward, ready to pounce and scream “Make a call or move away.” You see, she’s 15. You’re a middle-aged 6 foot plus adult male. You have power. And you used it.

I sighed when you finally stepped back and took several steps away. Then, you turned around and gave my daughter the death stare again for several more seconds. She was beet red and it was evident that she was extremely uncomfortable and humiliated. Yes. Humiliated. But she didn’t say a word, move an inch. You had no reason to turn back around. She still didn’t know what she’d done wrong.

Then you called a technical foul against her. We were floored. Her coach was floored. You see, as you heard in the five minute argument her coach had with you, she’s one of the easiest going kids on the team. She’s one of the biggest supporter of her teammates, as you witnessed when she gave a teammate a high five for making the first of her two free throws. You didn’t like that, either, though, and told her she couldn’t do it anymore.

I stayed quiet, but now that I know what the technical was for, Mr. Referree, I am livid. You humiliated and embarrassed and dominated a 15 year old girl because she said the word “Foul.” You’ve got to be kidding me! A technical? If you didn’t like it, why didn’t you warn her instead? In fact, no one heard her say “foul” in the stands, so she didn’t scream it, but she’s got the broken skin from scratches up and down her arm to prove she was getting mauled under the net and no whistle was blown – not once.

Maybe somebody did need to point out your job. Her coach already had and you still didn’t do it.

A stare down with dagger eyes to humiliate her and a technical to muddy her reputation was overkill. Maybe a bit of professionalism and heeding the fact that you’re an adult and she is still a child is in order.

If that’s not possible, hang up your whistle. You don’t deserve the title anymore than she deserved the technical or the treatment.

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2 Responses to “Dear Ref:”

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Wow. As a father I think I might have been pretty upset. I don’t know if I’d have confronted the ref but I would make a complaint to the league office and remind the league what the role of officials are and that the game is for the kids – not the adults. I’d also talk to my daughter about what happened and how it made her feel and how she’ll deal with men exerting power over her in the future (because it won’t be the last time this happens).

I also work for the YMCA so my view of sports teaching kids character is well ingrained. Sometime it teaches them, with the help of caring adults, how to move on when you’ve been wronged. Whatever she perceived the ref to be telling her by her glare, doesn’t matter if she knows the truth in her heart.

Good luck and sorry this had to happen.

I sure hope you have a daughter, because some girl is going to be lucky to have you as a dad supporting her through life! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They help me to be a better parent, guiding my kids when others are poor role models, like the ref in question.


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