Sunday, May 03, 2009

An idiot in the stands

I was at a high school sporting event recently as a fan. I always forget how icky fans can be, since I'm not focused on them when I work. But this guy at a fairly rich HS took the cake.

The official made a call that he didn't like, and in response, he said something like this:

"I've never liked high school officials in general. They're terrible. You know something I've learned? A lot of them are bus drivers. Bus drivers! I mean it. Like, the one time in high school, I took the [local public transit organization] bus downtown, and the guy driving it was one of the football officials I'd had! I just couldn't believe it. A bus driver!"

I almost want to let this go without comment--the guy looks bad enough as it is--but I can't.

1. He's actually attacking a sports official for making an honest living driving a city bus.
2. He seems to think that a doctor, lawyer, or astrophysicist would make a better official than a butcher or bus driver. I wonder why he thinks this is true.
3. One of the things I like most about HS officiating is it is one of the very few parts of our society where people come together from different social strata and work as a team with a common goal. Some nights I work with a hot-shot lawyer or big-time businessman. Some nights I work with a guy from the toughest part of town who's trying to piece together a living with officiating as one of the pieces to his economic puzzle. And we are forced to work together under stressful circumstances.

Where else does this happen in our society? Not jury duty (the rich tend to get off that). Not in schools, which are racially and economically segregated worse than at any time since Brown vs. Board of Ed. Not in youth league sports, which are also segregated by community.

I honestly can't come up with another place, in my life anyway, where we work together other than as officials.

I think I can rest easy knowing that guy in the stands will reveal his butthead nature to the wrong guy someday, and as a result be grossly overcharged for electrical or mechanical work. And he'll deserve it.

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