By Dylan Sheely
As your average high schooler, I spend at least one night a week at one of my schools sporting events. From football in the fall, to soccer in the spring. The student section is always packed, the cheers are always loud. While school administrators try to keep things PG-13, I won’t lie and tell you the referees don’t get slandered. And while the words and their actions may be over exaggerated, I have to admit it is getting easier and easier to find flaws in the referees calls.
This past monday, my peers and I got out first opportunity to watch our girls soccer team compete in their first home game. Many of us were excited to see how the team would perform after losing almost half their starting squad to graduation the year before. However, we soon learned that the focus of the game would be hogged by the ref’s mistakes, instead of our girl’s play.
Early on in the first half, the other team was using an offensive opportunity to attack the goal. As the team advanced, a pass was made to a player that was quite obviously offsides. As one might expect, the line judge held up her flag to indicate the call. However, play continued and the ref chose not to blow her whistle, allowing for the other team to get an easy shot and net an easy goal.
At this moment, many of us students were left in confusion? “What is she doing?” “Why didn’t she blow the whistle?” Many questions were asked but we were left without answers as play continued. We remained optimistic however, as the game was only tied at 1-1.
Later on in the game, the opponents were yet again on the attack. As they passed through our defense, they made an errand pass near the corner of the of the field of play. The ball traveled past it’s target and ricocheted off the orange cone on the ground holding up the corner kick flag. According to probably every soccer rule book ever made, this should be considered out of bounds. However, as three refs watched on, play continued and the game wasn’t stopped, leading to yet another goal for the opposition.
To make this long story just a tad bit shorter, the game ended in double overtime, 5-4 with the opposing team coming out on top. If you take those two goals away from the other team, the games end in regulation with a 4-2 victory to the home faithful.
While I understand both these instances happened in the same game, things like this are happening on a daily basis in high school sporting events across the state of Iowa. The focus has shifted from how good will our favorite players do to what mistakes that ref’s will make to change the course of the game.
We are at a point where things need to change. The state needs to make a major impact to find suitable refs for high school sporting events before these sports become unwatchable.