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Why Does Everyone Hate the Zebras?

Christopher DiGeronimo

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You may hate one team while your friend might hate another team, but it is almost

guaranteed that you both hate referees. They run up and down fields across the world

showing off their stripes of authority, knowing that every call they make is going to be

scrutinized one way or the other.

Whether you like it or not referees are going to go about their business of making calls

and there is nothing you as a fan or a player can do about it. Referees have many names

including “Ref,” “Mr./Mrs. Official,” “Blue,” but the most prevalent names that are

shouted are idiot, moron, and an assortment of other colorful names that cannot be

printed. They have also been accused of having disabilities such as blindness and they

have constantly been diagnosed with stupidity by certified fans. From youth sports to

professional athletics, referees are one of the most hated and loved figures in sports,

which will never change.

The majority of referees are respected officials that retain the integrity of the sport by

calling a fair game. When they see a foul on one side of the ball or court, they are going

to call it evenly.

Then there are the rest of the referees of the world. The referees that are biased, hold

personal vendettas against players and teams, and the ones that simply do not know the

rules. Now this could all be a conspiracy theory or it could be true. Fans and players will

never actually now what goes into a referee’s call because refereeing is all about the

opinion of the individual, and there are a lot of factors that play into that particular

opinion.

For example, if there is a player on your team that is known for fouling and playing

rough, the referees are going to have extra eyes on that particular player. That might not

be fair to the player because if that player is trying his or her best to abide by the rules

they are going to get called for a foul anyway. This type of bias could go for a team also.

If a team is known for being physical, they are logically going to be called for more fouls

then the other team on the basis of just cause. This is something that is prevalent in

sports and it contributes to the hatred and love of referees depending on which side of

the call you affiliate with. Other factors that create biases in referees are arguing with

calls, fan interaction, and player reactions.

We all must realize that referees are human and they can be persuaded to think a certain

way based on the way they are treated. Referees can also contribute to their own

mistreating by constantly calling “the wrong call” in the eyes of the accused. As you can

see, this issue can come from both the player and the ref, but the ref is always going to

be blamed because they are the one’s wearing the stripes.

The media portrays the star of the game as the player that scores the most points, hits

the most home runs, or scores the most goals. One thing that the media overlooks is how

that player can do all those great things. A lot of great sports moments in history were

decided by the opinion of the referee.

An example being Larry Johnson’s four-point play, Jeter’s flip play, Dez Bryant’s

catch/no catch, Johan Santana’s no-hitter, all Lebron’s travels and Jordan’s push offs

that were no calls that lead them to hit game winning shots. Another example of this

could be when a pitcher has bases loaded, two strikes, and two outs in game seven of the

World Series. If the pitch is technically a ball and misses the plate by an inch but the

umpire calls it a strike the pitcher is going to be immortalized, not the umpire. With this

call and all calls the umpire is going to be met with displeasure from the opposing side,

but the call still stands.

Animal experts say that a Zebras stripes are unique and that they can be identified by

their specific stripe pattern even though they all look the same to us. In the wild, Zebras

like to stay in packs because their predators cannot see well and when they are bunched

together they become one zebra in the eyes of the predator instead of hundreds. As fans

and predators, we all see referees as one because of the stripes on their shirt. Maybe

sometimes we can identify them by their uniqueness because they do play a big part in

all the sports that we love and it would be hard to play sports without them.

They are the ones that keep the peace and the ones that cause havoc, but it all binds

together with our bi-polar love of sports.

Now, let us all sit down and think, how do you think Armando Galarraga feels about

umpires?

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Why Does Everyone Hate the Zebras?