Today I went to my first college lacrosse game as a fan since These Uncertain Times started. It was rainy and cold and my team lost badly. Plus the refs sucked. But I count myself lucky nonetheless.
I’m lucky not only because my family is healthy and we were able to attend this game, but because I enjoyed the cathartic and time-honored tradition of screaming at officials.
There are so many things to miss about attending sporting events: tailgating, hot dogs, team spirit shared with thousands of newfound friends. As fun as these things are, they pale in comparison to the satisfaction that comes with berating refs.
A well-timed, full-throated criticism of the zebras accomplishes several gratifying yet unproductive objectives. By voicing your displeasure, you establish yourself as the most knowledgeable and passionate fan in your section. You assign a scapegoat to absolve your team of any errors committed on the given play. You blow off steam that would otherwise manifest itself as an ugly, booze-fueled Twitter rant later that night.
We’re living with many unforeseen consequences of this pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns. One that we don’t talk about enough is how refs have been able to skate by without criticism from fans, since none of us have been allowed to attend. I legitimately believe this has caused a decline in the quality of officiating.
With no one but Bill Tierney demanding excellence from NCAA refs, their performance has suffered. It was already bad. Like, so fucking bad. But without the ire of lax parents, the floor gets lowered even more.
This isn’t a blog about Covid and re-opening. There are already far too many of those. This is a blog about how the game needs belligerent fans if it’s ever going to be officiated consistently. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.
Long story short I hollered in front of a bunch of strangers and I want our readers to know I was justified. For the record, I didn’t say “S my C.”