Pass-Sporting: Tip #19 - The Refs Are Horrible, But You Gotta Let It Go

Tip #19: The refs are horrible, but you gotta let it go

I’m coming from a place of understanding. In defense of the referees, they are also learning the game along with the players and have yet to fully grasp all of rules. With football growing at a rapid pace, games are out numbering the amount of qualified refs to officiate them. 

Honestly, ref’ing is a hard task. Especially when coaches don’t know a damn thing either, which leads to more confusion and problems. As we all know many of the coaches, in their warped sense of reality, believe they’re Bill Belichik, and KNOW EVERYTHING. (Un)Fortunately I’ve experienced this first hand ref’ing my first game this season. So YES!! I’m admitting it’s not all the refs fault. But they are still terrible. With that being said, a way to make your life easier as an import is not to point out how awful they are... Well not publicly… In the middle of the game. It will come back to haunt you.

This is a lot harder than it seems. You will undoubtedly witness the most bizarre, brain dead call or no call. Just to prepare you, any play over 30 yds most likely will result in a flag being thrown. Kick returns? Damn near guaranteed. An overwhelming part of my decision to stop playing had a lot to do with the officiating I experienced this past season. 

Since we are on the topic, NEVER, EVER, EVER, PLAY AGAINST OULU, IN OULU. Easily the worst and most corrupt group of officials you can find. 

Sorry about that. I still have some post-traumatic stress from that game. Okay…I’ve calmed down.

The best way to really approach them is before the game, to make the refs aware of things you see happen on film that are illegal. It allows you to introduce yourself and come off as you knowing your stuff. Trying to explain in game, when emotions are high, will cause a tragic interaction. The refs have fragile egos, and for the most part arrogant like you wouldn’t believe. Even though your intent as an import isn’t to show the refs up or dismiss their football acumen, they may see it just as that. The result of shattering a refs ego is them throwing every flag on you when they see fit. Oh believe it will come at the most crucial time. 

When I hit wicks end this year, in Finland, I decided to take a different approach. I went to the refs before the game and politely told them, “I frequently get illegally chopped blocked. If you decide not throw a flag what I will do is beat the shit out of the kid after the game. If you aren’t going to protect me from injury then I have to physically defend myself. So you can do the right thing and the kid can live or you can hold that flag and have him be put in the hospital. His well being is up to you”. Surprisingly enough, things went a whole hell of a lot better the last two games.

Bottom line officiating is going to be horrible to the point that you may have a nervous breakdown. Racking up personal foul, after personal foul, for expressing to the ref he’s is officiating skills are equal to a late term abortion, is not going to endear you to anyone Not mention you will get the label of a selfish import even if its not the case. Be the example to follow and show resolve. 

For real, I’m so thankful that I never have to deal with this issue again. Good luck fellas.

Aki "Not Euro Jones" Jones