Editor’s Column – (Please Don’t) Kill the Umpire!

Paul Kasabian

Sometimes I wish that I could have one of those student-worker jobs on campus where I can just sit and do homework or yoga during my two-hour shift. Now personally, yoga isn’t really my thing, but my friend Matt once told me that he saw a student at Huntington do yoga while she was supposed to be “supervising” the basketball courts, so it should be duly noted. Even if I counted yoga as a hobby, however, I still couldn’t afford to perform it during my on-campus job because I am an Intramural Sports referee, which is the only job on campus where your fellow students scream and complain to you on a daily basis.

From the day I began my career as an official during February of my freshman year, my job has been nothing but eventful. I was assigned to referee dodgeball games by myself, but I ended up getting into a huge argument with a team about line boundaries, and one of the kids threatened to report me to my boss after the team lost(something tells me that wouldn’t have happened if they won). Keep in mind that this wasn’t the seventh game of the World Series. At least I found a full-page apology in my e-mail box from the team captain when I got back to my room.

Softball season was almost as interesting. I was reffing a scrimmage between two teams when I called a kid out for attempting to bunt, which is against intramural rules. Now, I have no idea why this pansy tried to bunt in slow-pitch softball, but I digress. Anyways, this kid walked ten feet away, motioned to me, and in a voice audible enough for me to hear, told his friend in a smarmy way that I had low self-esteem. Low self esteem??? In the history of sport, which dates back to when the ancient Mayans played pok-a-tok, I don’t think any referee has ever been told anything as bizarre as saying that they have low self-esteem. Well, the most bizarre thing ever told to a ref must have been when the Mayans told their referees that they would be offered as human sacrifices to the sun god Kinich Ahau, if such an occurrence ever happened, but low self-esteem has to be a close second.

Sophomore year was just as crazy. Within one Intramural football game, I had an entire team of ex-football players scream at me in the first half, followed by an entire frat screaming at me in the second half. During that game, I also got in the face of one kid for calling me a bitch. Another kid said I needed new glasses (which I have since gotten). A frat member with serious anger management issues threw a dodgeball at my head (because I unfortunately missed my growth spurt in high school, the ball whizzed just inches over my head). I broke up a fight between two teams during softball season when one kid trucked the catcher at a play at the plate, and then the entire team and its fan base started screaming at me when I called the kid out. To add insult to injury, I then had to run around the field for 15 minutes looking for a new softball because the game ball got lost in the bushes.

Now, it may seem as though I hate my job, but it’s not the case at all. I get to meet a lot of new people, and I get $12 per game. Plus, I have to run around a lot in order to be a halfway decent football official, so I get to work off all the calories I take in when I order Slices Wings multiple times a week or when I eat Oreos as a meal. Believe it or not, being a referee is a pretty sweet job. Just don’t expect me to be perfect.