Alicia Vitarelli has the BIG STORY at Action News:

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Youth sports can be critical to a kid’s development, growth and confidence.

Sadly, right now we’re told there’s a critical need for referees, umpires and other sports officials to preside over their games.

It’s a trend that officials say is impacting us here in the Delaware Valley and across the nation.

“We’re hurting for officials,” says John Riley from Phoenixville. He reached out to Action News to get the word out about the “extreme” need for new officials across all sports, all ages, all games, and all locations.

“I would say we’ve probably lost 30% of our officials,” Riley says. “We will lose two or three a year and only get one. The only thing that they will say to me is, ‘I don’t want to deal with the parents.'”

I reffed for a year and the parents are the absolute worst. They don’t know the rules and they’re constantly yelling at refs, kids, and coaches from the bleachers. We had to stop games to break up parent fights and send them back to the parking lot. No joke. The players were great and the coaches were generally fine and respectful, but the moms and dads dragged the experience down into the muck.

My theory is that parents use their kids’ games as some sort of weekend release. It’s like they worked their 9-5 all week, so baseball at 10 a.m. on a Saturday is how they let loose, which they feel gives them license to yell a bunch of bullshit from the sidelines. It’s like they feel justified in saying whatever they want, which is embarrassing.

True story –

I was running the sidelines during a soccer game, and this one dad was sitting way down by the corner flag by himself, in a folding chair. I asked why he was sitting there and he said that he couldn’t stand the other parents, so he leaves the bleacher area to watch his daughter play in peace. Good man.

Anyway, here’s the link if you wanna be a ref. The pay isn’t bad at all. You get some exercise and it’s a good life experience if you can handle the dipshit parents.