Supporting any kid who yearns to play sports is important. Sports teach teamwork, self-pride, and especially sportsmanship. Strong character skills are developed when kids work hard to achieve a goal. But winning, even in life, isn’t always everything and is rarely guaranteed.
Nonetheless, winning is a lot more enjoyable than losing. Sports teach kids how to work hard and exalt in their winning accomplishments. Practice and perseverance pay off. Playing sports helps kids learn to appreciate that being successful requires hard work and effort.
It goes without saying, a nation that gives every kid a trophy will be inclined to produce a generation of snowflakes, people who far too easily accept defeat. However, when parents ignore other principles that sports try to instill in our kids, it works to fuel the opposite.
Almost every sport’s fan has witnessed horrible officiating. While officials make mistakes, some just aren’t very good at what they’ve been asked to do. It can be painful to watch; especially when your own kid is playing and a bad call goes against your team.
However, acknowledging the fact that there simply are bad refs is one thing. It’s fine to accept defeat, all the while knowing that a bad call cost your team the game. The reality is that there are bad refs and umpires. Unfortunately, poor officiating can be part of the game.
Nevertheless, no matter how bad they are, it crosses a line when you attack the referee. It’s also criminal. One King County, Washington dad found that out the hard way. We won’t address the question of why a 72-year-old man was refereeing a middle school basketball game.
We can only imagine it was out of necessity. Game officials are hard to come by, good ones even more so. However, one reason for the shortage of people willing to officiate youth sports games was on full display in this Washington gymnasium.
Evidently, one dad didn’t think much of this senior citizen’s officiating abilities. Instead of yelling catcalls from the bleachers, the dad barreled onto the court and flattened the ref. It apparently wasn’t a fair exchange.
Not only was the referee over 70-years-of-age, the father was a massive 6’6” tall and weighed over 200 pounds. Mark McLaughlin, the crazed father, will get an opportunity to account for his terrible lack of judgment.
Sheer stupidity would be a mild way of describing what he did. McLaughlin was arrested and charged with second-degree felony assault. At least one spectator recorded a video of the altercation. The video has been used by law enforcement to support charges.
In the video, McLaughlin is seen racing from the bleachers and knocking the ref to the floor. It took nearly a half-an-hour to stop the bleeding from the referee’s face. He was diagnosed with a broken nose and a broken jaw. McLaughlin fled the gym, but was arrested the next day.
He posted bond. McLaughlin made his first court appearance, pleading not guilty. He faces up to 10 years in prison. Referees are told to read “the rule book”. We hope the judge throws “the book” at this dad. Maybe jail time will impress upon him some rules of good sportsmanship.