Business

Mentally disturbed parents forced me to give up my job as a youth sports referee

In 2014, Tampa, Fla. resident Darryl Stidham was managing a little league team when he was told he would also have to officiate two games due to an official shortage.

“I fell in love with her,” he told the Post. “I enjoyed the camaraderie with the other guys. Most of the time when I played baseball, I was a catcher. Standing behind the plate is one of my favorite things to do on earth. It’s plain and simple.”

As the 36-year-old insurance agency owner saw his business flourish, he had less time for coaching. The post “allowed me to stay close to the game and that happy atmosphere,” he said.

In addition to regular season games, he also officiated all-star tournaments ranging from districts to sections. “Last year was my first year at the state tournament. My goal was to work in Williamsport within five years,” he said of the home of the Little League Baseball World Series.

Darryl Stidham says goodbye to being a Little League umpire because parents and coaches have become too abusive.
Darryl Stidham says goodbye to being a Little League umpire because parents and coaches have become too abusive.
Courtesy of Darryl Stidham

Instead, he quit for good last week.

“With the ever-present threat of violence, it’s just not worth it. I would prefer staying out of the morgue than being in Williamsport.”

Growing Violence

Since the fall, Stidham has seen a major escalation in disruptive behavior from parents and coaches. He was recently forced to flee a field for his own safety after sacking a runaway manager. Then, earlier this month, he endured back-to-back days of abuse in the dugout and in the stands, with a parent kicking him in the face and proclaiming, “It’s your job to take abuse away from us.”

“That one comment really set me back … I have a full-time career and I’m just trying to give back to the community and the sport that effectively built me,” said Stidham, who made $45 a game and worked full-time. star circuit as a volunteer.

He is among an ever-growing list of referees who are shedding their zebra crossings due to rampant abuse from coaches, parents and even players, which has led to a dire shortage of officials in youth sport. And in the last two weeks there has been a spate of viral videos or incidents that have made local sports sites indistinguishable from the police filing.

In Mississippi, softball umpire Kristi Moore was allegedly punched by a woman wearing a “Mother of the Year” shirt. During a Little League game in Denton, Texas, a referee was pushed to the ground by a coach. In Georgia, a basketball umpire was attacked by players and required 30 stitches. And on Easter Sunday, a referee was assaulted in Thornton, Colorado, and video of the incident was posted on TikTok.

Brian Barlow, a football official from Tulsa, Okla Offsidea referee advocacy page on Facebook, compiles such videos to shame badly behaved adults.

Tulsa-based soccer official Brian Barlow, who runs the Facebook page "Offside" is shown (middle).
Tulsa-based football official Brian Barlow (center), who runs the Offside Facebook page, says the violence is “the worst I’ve ever seen.”
Courtesy of Brian Barlow

“At what point does someone pull out a gun in a ballpark and say, ‘I’m going to shoot this guy’?”

Brian Barlow

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” Barlow told the Post. “Last week my page had more engagement, more views and I received more videos of people attacking officers than in an average week.”

While referee abuse is nothing new, it has evolved from verbal taunts to physical jabs.

Barlow blames the pandemic on the erosion of respect for authority figures and a mental health breakdown. Then there are eligible parents who spend big bucks so their kids can play in highly competitive leagues and think they’re getting a Division I scholarship.

“It’s terrifying,” Stidham said. “At what point does someone pull out a gun in a ballpark and say, ‘I’m going to shoot this guy’?”

From the rain in the eaves

That’s how Kristi Moore felt last week after she was punched in the eye by a rude parent who kicked her out of a 12-year-old softball game.

Mississippi-based softball umpire Kristi Moore was hit by a foul-mouthed parent
Mississippi-based softball umpire Kristi Moore was hit by a foul-mouthed parent.
Courtesy of Kristi Moore

“No official should be working on a game with the back of his mind worrying, ‘Is that the call that will make someone angry enough to attack me or shoot me?’ ” Moore, 47, told the Post.

Her shocking story went viral after she posted a picture of her shiner to Facebook. “I didn’t do this for attention. I don’t want publicity, but it’s happening more than people realize,” said Moore, who received thousands of messages from other officials who shared similar anecdotes.

“I haven’t been on the field since then. I think I’ll make it back out there, but I don’t know when. I need a minute,” said the 5-foot-4 single mom of two.

Moore, who is also a head judge charged with assigning and recruiting umpires, is now urging Mississippi to make assaulting a sports official a crime.

“There must be consequences and responsibilities for this behavior. If I could use my story to change laws or get parents and coaches to question their behavior, it would have been worth it at the end of the day,” she said.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/21/i-quit-my-job-as-a-youth-sports-referee-after-violent-threats/ Mentally disturbed parents forced me to give up my job as a youth sports referee

DUSTIN JONES

USTimeToday is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimetoday.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button