All year round there are sports. No matter the season there’s a sport. What’s your poison, Football, basketball, soccer, baseball and full-contact badminton? They all require one thing to make it happen. That thing takes training and sometimes might require payment. It’s a service that, if not acquired, you might just be playing for fun. Yes, your full-contact badminton game might not count towards the state competition without this. What might that be? (Whistle here) 

Who wants to do this?  

Referees make the sports world go, if you don’t have a ref you’re playing pick-up. That can be fun but if you want stats, referees make the difference. Getting a referee is proving to be harder and harder in youth sports. What was once a fun day of sports has taken a turn in many instances into anger. The referees have become the enemy and are somehow keeping someone’s child from being the best they can be.  Just because you don't like a call does not mean the referee is bad.  I find that many people don't know the rules of the sport and think they do.  I've been to many a sport where this is evident.  I have a cursory knowledge of sporting rules but enough to well, be trouble.  

What it Takes 

You can't just walk on the field in Iowa and be a referee.  Well, you could but it could lead to hard time in the Iowa penitentiary. Impersonating a referee is one of the worst offenses (Whistle here). There is a licensure requirement and that is as follows according to the IHSAA.

  1. Complete the DragonFly registration process, including paying the fee for the sport you wish to officiate
  2. Take the Iowa Rules Meeting for each sport you wish to officiate
  3. Pass the sport-specific exam with a score of 75% or better
  4. Attend a sport-specific clinic (post-season officiating requirement)

 Check here for all the license requirements with the IHSAA

Things Have Changed 

I've been to many a sporting event where you give the ref a little ribbing, they spin around give you a grin, or stern stare, and the game continues.  It was all in good fun.  That fun seems to have taken a little bit of a turn to anger.  When did that happen? Spectators have decided they know more than the referees.  In some cases, they might, but that doesn't mean you get to come on the field and intervene for whatever reason.  I know you might not want to hear this either, but sometimes referees make mistakes.  That's why the NBA FINALLY instituted the instant replay.  Because refs do get it wrong.  We rely on the eye when the camera is not present.  Sometimes those eyes don't see what you did and that's okay! We can agree to disagree and still be cordial.

104-5 KDAT logo
Get our free mobile app

Recently my wife's nephews Trenton and Henry took the IHSAA classes and passed with flying colors at ages 17 and 14.  The issue is if they want to step on the field where full-grown adults are rage-yelling, or even worse, getting physical, because of a call.  I don't know that I would.  These boys are top of their class but we all make mistakes, even one.  Is that worth blowing your stack and possibly ruining a game?  There is a shortage of referees in Iowa and across the nation.  The reason is angry adults.  Ask a referee.

Trenton and Henry's dad also refs and says he can take it but wonders how others will fare.  He says the abuse has only gotten worse as the years have gone by.  There is pay but sometimes it's hardly worth the aggravation.

You can Make a Difference

According to Psychology Today, Anxiety is contagious.  Competitive sports at whatever level are stressful.  They offer composure as a crucial ingredient for successful performance.  Outbursts of anger only provide distraction in an already stressful environment.  It also only serves to embarrass themselves and their kids and could lead to an outcome that is not beneficial for any of the parties.

 Be kind to Each Other

The Highest-Rated Cedar Rapids Restaurants on Yelp (April 2024)

We have a ton of great local restaurants in Cedar Rapids, but which ones are the best of the best? To determine the top 15 restaurants in Cedar Rapids, we looked at Yelp reviews for businesses that are within city limits. Here are the highest-rated restaurants as of April of 2024:

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

Highest Paying Jobs in Iowa That are Hiring

These are the top highest-paying jobs in the state currently, according to Iowa Works.

Gallery Credit: Danielle

More From 104-5 KDAT