The 519 Podcast

No Refs, No Games: The Officiating Crisis in Minor Sports

July 7, 2022

When a teenaged cashier at the grocery store makes a mistake, just about everyone would be outraged if the customer began yelling at them and berating them. And yet, so many of us stand by and say nothing when a coach or parent yells at a teenager who is umpiring or refereeing their child's soccer, hockey, or baseball game. 

Why do we accept what amounts to verbal abuse of young people, simply because it happens at a sporting event?

Most minor sports leagues in our region are experiencing a shortage of referees and umpires, and the argument could easily be made that this is a problem of our own making. 

In this episode of The 519 Podcast, we speak to two sports organization officials about the challenges they are facing, an umpire's association president who says it's getting harder to find people willing to put up with the heckling, and two 15-year-old umpires who describe the impact the verbal abuse has on them.

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