Here's proof that referees aren't built like the rest of us

July 17, 2005|by Byron Ferguson

I have heard people say, "I wouldn't have THAT job for all the money in the world."

Wow, THAT must be some lousy job! What job could be so bad that even the offer of trillions and trillions of dollars couldn't get us to take it?

Is it President of the United States? Nope. I have had many people tell me not only what is wrong with this country, but also how they would fix the problems if they were in charge.

Substitute teacher? Despite the obvious pitfalls to this vocation, we do have substitute teachers. They are able to exact revenge when they become tenured teachers. They also secretly vote "yes" for corporal punishment.


After an exhaustive 20 minutes of research, I was able to clearly pinpoint THAT job. It is called being a referee. To be a referee requires a certain makeup. It requires a unique type of anatomy, as it were.

n Brains: Apparently very little is required. "This guy is an idiot" is a constant lament from the "know-it all" coaches and parents. As an aside, I do find it quite remarkable how fans seem to know the rule book for any given sport far better than the hapless referee.

n Eyes: None needed for this job. At any game I have ever attended, I have found that the referee was "blind as a bat." Fans in the stands are able to come to this conclusion without the benefit of giving the ref an eye exam. Personally, I never knew there were so many optometrists in this state.

n Lungs: Very small. They never seem to create enough air to blow the whistle that hangs around the referee's neck. The whistle according to those "all knowing" fans is "merely a decorative item to be seen, but never used."

n Ears: These are used to funnel insults that are hurled at the ref in one side of the head and out the other. This seems to be an innate talent for most husbands; referees must acquire this talent after years of verbal abuse.

n Hands: The appendage that holds the fingers, which invariably point the ball in the wrong direction.

n Legs: The most important part of the referee's anatomy. They hold the feet that help the referee run like a mad man through the parking lot to escape the angry mob that has turned on him/her during the course of the game.

So the next time you want to yell at a referee, remember that the "blind idiot who never blows his whistle or gets a call right" really is a hero.

Do you want THIS job?

"A Voice From The Crowd" is a weekly feature in The Herald-Mail which gives sports fans an opportunity to be a sports columnist. This week's guest columnist, Byron Ferguson, is a resident of Smithsburg. Comments on his column can be sent to If you are interested in becoming a contributor to this column, e-mail Sports Editor Mark Keller at

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