Parents, coaches and players becoming more vocal
It seems like more parents and coaches are getting more vocal about the sporting events their son and daughters are playing in.
Recently, a post season high school soccer match near Chicago was forfeited when a player disagreed with a call and punched the soccer official in the head twice.
Are games getting out of control? Are parents and coaches stepping over the line?
No matter if it's a junior league football game or a Sunday afternoon girls soccer match, parents are there to cheer on their child. But when things go sideways on the field or on the court, bad things can happen in the blink of an eye.
Where does the aggressive behavior begin? Bob Baucom is starting his 40th year as a basketball official. He's seen the unruly behavior increase over the years.
"People don't know the rules like they think they know them and they're always looking and they are a lot of good people out there, a lot of good fans, but it doesn't take long for one to get going and they're like a bunch of sheep they follow each other," Baucom said.
That's an opinion that is shared by many who officiate games. Roger Hynek is the coordinator of officials for the Quinsippi Soccer League in Quincy. He feels that if people knew a few of the rules of the game they're watching, the unruly behavior and outbursts could be toned down.
"Oh yeah, a lot of it is what you just said. The more you can teach a coach, a player or even the parents the more enjoyment they're going to have from watching their son or daughter play and that's the name of the game," Hynek said.
Officials who work athletic events from the junior high level up to varsity contests are required to pass a yearly exam that is administered by their state high school activities association. But some spectators at events always seem to think they know more than the person who has the whistle or who is wearing the stripes.
Frank Froman is a psychologist in Quincy. He said he's seen the videos of people who have confronted officials either during or after a contest and he said there seems to be a deep underlying issue with many of those people.
"Sometimes and this isn't usually mentioned, but sometimes what happens is that there is some latent bipolar disorder in some of these folks and when they go to an event which triggers their emotions they literally go into a bipolar rage. So if somebody does this, let's say twice or more they probably ought to check it out with a mental health professional to find out, is this just a matter of a kind of sports rage like we have road rage or is this something more indicative of something deeper inside them some demons that are trying to get out and need to be controlled," Froman said.
Hynek also said they've approached younger officials about moving on to upper level contests and he said the comment they get sometimes is "oh no, I don't want to deal with the parents." And he said because of that, a person they thought would be a good official they've lost forever.
It's not an easy occupation, but many of the men and women you see on the field or on the court are doing it because they want to give back to the sport that benefited them when they were younger.