Watching and playing high school sports in Colorado is a lot of fun. Officiating those games oftentimes is not and the result is a shortage of game officials.

Nobody Wants To Get Yelled At

Apparently, high school officials are tired of getting yelled at, and they aren't going to take it anymore.  CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Mike Book, says bad fan behavior is the number reason why the state is dealing with a shortage of game officials. In an interview with 9 NEWS, Book said it's a crisis situation with the number of officials available and the number of contests being played.

The shortage of officials is causing some school districts to reschedule Friday games to less crowded times like Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. Some officials are being asked to do more games - including doubleheaders which Is creating burnout among referees. Book says the problem has been escalating for years.

2020 High School Football Season Kicks Off in Ohio
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I Used to Be A Bad Fan

Bad fan behavior has been happening for as long as I can remember. I'm not proud of it, but when I was in high school I was a bad fan - yelling at officials and mocking players from the other team. What were we thinking? I have some huge regrets about how I acted back then. and I cringe when I hear and see that stuff happening now. Whatever happened to good sportsmanship?

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Fans Just Mimic the Coaches

Part of the problem, as I see it, starts with coaches who whine and complain about every call that goes against their team. Then when we get to the college and pro level it gets even worse because you have coaches who don't just whine, they are yelling and screaming at officials constantly. Fans see this behavior by the coaches and feel it gives them a green light to mimic that behavior from their place in the stands.

Kansas State v Texas Tech
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In what other industry is angry yelling and screaming at coworkers or subordinates tolerated? What would you do if you were berated and angrily criticized every time you walked into the office or your place of employment? It wouldn't be long before you're out the door and/or filing a complaint.

Coaches and Fans Need to Be Better

Well, that seems to be what's happening in Colorado and across the nation in high school sports. Game officials are saying enough is enough and it's causing havoc with the scheduling of games. There simply aren't enough officials to call the games.

The bottom line is this. Coaches need to be better, and fans need to be better. The officials are doing the best they can. Do they get every call exactly right? Of course not, but that's true at every level of sports activity. Yet, we as sports fans expect those officials to be spot-on perfect every single time, and when they aren't we feel justified I giving them heck. The reality is they are not perfect, but, so what?

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos
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Let's Hold Coaches and Fans Accountable For Their Actions

It's time to start holding coaches and fans accountable for their words and actions. Unfortunately, we live in a society where, in recent years, it has become more acceptable to say exactly what we are thinking regardless of how hurtful, demeaning, and inappropriate our words might be. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

This behavior in sports has always been with us, but it feels like it's getting worse - on the sidelines and in the stands. For the sake of the kids, let's be better fans. Let's be better coaches. I know we are passionate about our teams and our players, but we need to keep things in perspective and keep our emotions in check. Think about the example we are setting for the next generation. If we don't straighten up, can you imagine what it's going to be like for officials and players in another 20 years?

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