Challenging the referee is pointless

A weekly sports column

Reffing is a thankless job.

Sometimes they make the wrong calls, sometimes they miss something. They might even get overly involved in the game, maybe even going so far as making those calls or ignoring them purposely in retaliation to players getting overly emotional.

Referees are the ultimate authority during game time and when they make a call it’s very unlikely they will change their mind, especially if whatever sport or league does not allow coaches to challenge or if there is no TV replay to revisit the multiple angles of whatever event. This is for good reason, even if it is a mistake, unfair or wrong. They cannot lose face nor can they be opened up to bias.

If it’s a flat-out wrong call and done to punish a particular player for badmouthing, let the league officials deal with it. It’s no use taking it out on them on the pitch or the ice.

When I was growing up and playing rugby, we were told to respect the officials. Say “thank you, sir,” and walk away and get ready for play to start again and take out your frustration on the opposite number.

Being polite and respectful to the people who can determine the outcome of the game is actually an advantage. Hard to believe, I know, but imagine that a 50/50 comes to your doorstep. Who do you think the referee is going to favour? The player who has a reputation for accepting it or the player who let a string of expletives out of their mouth? Probably the former.

Screaming or belittling the referee has never changed their call. Ever. All it does is create a bitterness that is bound to repeat itself the next game.

Saying all that though, the referees will need to grow a thicker skin. There will also be players, coaches and parents questioning their calls, whether it was the right one or wrong one and they can’t let it get to them. They have to remain unbiased, otherwise, they are compromised and devoid of the respect their title is supposed to give them.

Players need to grow it too. Calls aren’t personal and taking them as so is childish.

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