They are as crucial to a game as the fans or the players. Some would argue that these individuals are the most important determining factor in any athletic endeavor. These folks don't do it for the pay and rarely, if ever, get a thank you for a job well done. Sports experts say you can always tell when this group does a great job because you won't even notice them in a game.  

Who are these vilified yet, unsung heroes? They're called a lot of names, but their official name is a referee. Let's face it, how can you have a game without an official? According to KIVI, some high schools and lower-level athletic events could face that reality due to an official shortage.    Sean Weatherston told KIVI that the shortage had impacted local football games where they usually have five officials and now have four. Other sports that could be affected are volleyball, basketball, and other indoor sports. Pay raises have been discussed, and some referees have been given pay raises. Although does anyone become a referee for the money?    

The answer is no; being an official is about the love of the game and an appreciation of local sports. Outrageous fan behavior, like anywhere across the country, is another issue cited by the report on KIVI as a reason why some have hung up the striped shirt.  

While no one is advocating eliminating local sporting events, perhaps the only way to save sports at the local level is to face the fact that if things do not change, the games will go away.  


A few suggestions:

Pay raise for officials

Zero tolerance for fans attacking fans verbally or physically.

More support and training for young officials 

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