Inside Sports for Sunday — December 25, 2005

• Officiating shouldn’t be relative


Officiating shouldn’t be relative

By Duane Shimogawa Jr. – The Garden Island

It happens more than you think and most of the time it doesn’t pose a problem, but the small fraction of the time that it does affect the outcome of a game, is enough evidence to stop having relatives of athletes officiating their contests.

Since the pool of officials on this island is as small as a grain of sand, it’s hard to find good, fair individuals to do the job.

And although officials get paid, it’s still not nearly enough to give up a Friday night, or Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

But this doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice being fair for the sake of just having anyone officiate games in which their son/daughter is playing in.

In youth sports, I think it really doesn’t pose a big problem, because the only thing on the line is getting better for the next level, which is high school.

At the prep level, college scholarships are on the line and anything that gets in the way of that, should be put to a screeching halt.

There have been some recent complaints at high school contests this year and after reviewing their letters, it seems that they have a valid point.

The heart of the matter isn’t whether officials are doing a good job or not, instead, it’s about giving our athletes the opportunity to play with unbiased officials.

We do live on a tiny island and there’s bound to be instances where we really can’t control having officials involved with some games, but to avoid this, we need to groom more people to become qualified officials.

Most, if not all of the officials on the island have full-time jobs and I don’t doubt that they do a fine job with the time they put into each game.

However, to avoid having officials working games where their son/daughter participates in, we’ll need better coordination and cooperation within each organization.

I know some parents who are great officials and they refuse to work a game that his/her son or daughter is playing in because he/she doesn’t want anyone to think that there’s a chance of favortism on his/her part.

It’s hard to teach our athletes about sportsmanship and fair play when some officials allow things to happen on the playing field in favor of one team.

And if fans in the stands realize what’s going on, then it turns really ugly.

Shouting matches and unlikely meetings in the parking lot are the results of the situation, which should be avoided by all means.

It’s a tough call, but somebody has to take a stand against individuals officiating their kids’ game.

If it continues, then it’ll lead to unwanted attention to areas that should be concerned with our athletes, who work so hard during countless hours of practice, only to get shunned during a game that’s unfairly called.

After all, shouldn’t they deserve nothing less than a fair shot at a win?

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