Michael Jimenez explains why he might possibly give up refereeing games for the foreseeable future
A youth baseball coach from Abilene is reportedly remorseful and apologetic, five days after being caught on video attacking an umpire. The incident happened Saturday in the Dallas-area suburb of The Colony.
Two select teams of ten-year old boys were playing when there was a bang-bang play at home plate. The umpire eyeballed the play and called the runner safe. None of the players argued the call. However, moments later one of the team managers confronted the umpire and was thrown out for arguing. The manager then two-hand shoved the umpire to the ground.
The umpire, Sam Phelps, told a Dallas area television station that he is in shock over the incident. He plans to file charges against the team manager, who has since been banned from participating in future events by the game’s organizer. Phelps was hospitalized following the incident and has since been released.
I hope prosecutors throw the book at the idiot coach responsible for the attack. Make him an example! There is a Texas law designed to protect sports officials. The charge could result in a fine or jail time, depending on severity.
I take this issue personally. I have officiated high school basketball in the San Antonio area for over a decade, calling some games at the Varsity level. It is my fear that a referee will be killed because of out-of-control parents and coaches. As I stated on Halftime, there are school coaches who argue every single call even when they know they are wrong. They play up to the crowd. They want fans and players to side against officials. These coaches and parents *want a hostile environment.
Twice in my refereeing career I have been threatened by a parent or coach. One time, a parent cursed at me at midcourt and threw coins at me. Another time, a youth coach threatened to beat me up in the parking lot. I handled both incidents in a relatively professional manner, though I did tell the one who physically threatened me that I would not start a fight, but if he approached me, I would be the one to “end it.”
Parents and coaches are out of control. That’s why so many good officials are considering leaving the occupation. At this point, it’s a coin flip as to whether I’d return to refereeing. It’s not the kids who are ruining youth sports. It’s the coaches. It’s the parents. They are the ones acting like children… and in some cases… criminals.
- Michael Jimenez