Before you judge the umpires match-day performance, take a step back and assess the consistency of your own teams performance. Are you being fair towards the men and women, boys and girls, also trying their best every Sunday on the park? They may be wearing the stand-out umpire-green, but they should be treated the same as your own team. Many of our umpires are still learning just like our players.
While the article below refers to professional adult umpires in the elite sporting arena, its good to consider another perspective that is transferable to any junior grass-roots game.
Barracking is an essential part of the football fan experience.
But right now, many football fans have a problem with respecting umpires and many recent events on the media have shown it’s getting out of hand.
To put last week’s [AFL] umpiring performances into perspective, here are some interesting player statistics from last week.
More than one in four of Patrick Dangerfield’s disposals on Saturday Night were ineffective, Max Gawn lost 23 ruck contests on Sunday afternoon, and Lance Franklin has missed 39 per cent of the shots for goal he’s taken this season.
So naturally fans were pillorying those players all week, labeling them a disgrace to football and praying for the day they’re delisted?
Of course not.
I may not have access to the great umpiring database, but I can tell you with certainty that Matthew Nicholls did not have more than one in four decisions incorrect over the weekend. ‘Razor’ Ray Chamberlain did not miss 23 free kicks on Saturday night, and there is no umpire in AFL history with an error rate of 39 per cent over a season.
Umpires strive for perfection, and as much as fans want them to get everything right, they want it even more. It’s natural for us to expect perfection from officiating’s elite, but is the way we react when this unattainable target is missed really fair?
No, it isn’t.
Footy fans will never stop yelling ‘ball!’ or booing when decisions don’t go their way. And they should never have to stop. It’s part of the game.
But before you cross the line and start attacking the integrity and personality of our umpires out of the misguided frustration that they cost your team the game, have a good look at the mistakes your team made.
It’s almost always more than the men in green.