It's come to this. I wish I could say that I can't believe it, but I can. In fact, I can't believe it took this long to happen.

Obnoxious parents are ruining high school sports, and it's become such a big problem that the government might be stepping in.

Minnesota Legislature to Introduce Bill That'll Fine Unruly Fans

State Representative John Huot - the author of the bill being introduced to the Minnesota legislature - has a unique perspective about fans of high school sports: he's spent two decades of his life as a high school sports referee. Referees are most often the targets of a jerkface fan's ire. A bad call, alleged bias to a team (usually the home team), calling too many fouls, not calling enough fouls; they can't win.

As a public address announcer for high school and junior college sports on-and-off for over 25 years, I've seen some bad officiating; but I never thought that I should assault a ref.

During a game just a few weeks ago, a "fan" (we'll call him Greg) for the visiting team spent the entire game yelling and cussing at officials and his own team's players. Towards the end of the game he decided to include the home team coach in his bloviations, who promptly called for the person in-charge of crowd control to throw him out. The officials agreed and stopped the game.

We waited while Crowd Control Guy jogged over to Greg and told him he had to leave. Now. Greg refused and began spouting off at Crowd Control Guy, who kept telling Greg he had to leave.

It dragged on so long that a ref walked up to the scorer's table and asked if someone could call the police. At this point, Greg was trespassing and refusing to leave.

Nobody called the police, Crowd Control Guy gave up and walked away, Greg realized nobody was going to stop him, and got worse. Even after the game was over, he refused to leave; instead, he kept right on chirping. Crowd Control Guy even came back and apologized to Greg, for some reason.

Greg then went after me, the P.A. Announcer, because...who was going to stop him? I laughed at Greg and left; Greg continued to chirp at me as I walked away. I almost quit that job because of the lack of security (something I'd been assured was important to the school before I accept the job).

Referees are quitting en masse because of trash fans like Greg.

Rep Huot's bill would authorize the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission to impose fines of $1000 to anyone who interferes with a youth sport. The fine goes into a special revenue fund that'll be used to hire and train more referees...something high schools across the country need.

I believe that the bill is a start, but doesn't go far enough. Trash "fans" like Greg need to be charged with trespassing, at the very least.

High school sports can survive just fine without a public address announcer, but they can't survive without referees. Yes, even the bad ones.

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