• Brooke Holt-Fleetwood, reporter

Referee sees job as extended classroom

For many people, going to a high school sporting event means cheering on their team and often times yelling at the referee.

Mike Welty, principal at Clearwater Elementary West and high school referee, sees it from a different perspective.

Welty describes sports as an extended classroom where athletes go to study, and he is there to help them learn.

The job of a referee is to ensure the game is played fairly and correctly without picking sides.

People tend to perceive referees as biased at times, but that perception is not always the reality.

When a referee makes a mistake, people tend to get very upset.

Keep in mind that fan is short for "fanatic" so it is to be expected that angry fans have a disrespectful attitude with the referees while debating the accuracy of a call.

"We can only make 50 percent of people happy 50 percent of the time," Welty said.

When a coach or a player is arguing about a call, he said it takes a lot of social skills and the ability not to argue back.

If someone is angry it tends to fuel their determination to keep an argument going in order to win and it is extremely important to know how to stop the argument.

High school football typically consists of five officials, but that is still not enough to see everything that happens when 22 players are moving at once.

The losing team may blame the referee for a loss, but the majority of players and fans do not stop and think what it is like for referees.

"I cannot really hear what the fans are yelling, so it really does not affect me," Welty said.

Since they cannot hear what fans are saying, it will not change the results of a game.

"The night a referee calls a perfect game, he’s retiring that night because it’s never going to happen," he said.

Even if the game was called perfectly, there could still be people blaming the loss on the officials.

Referees focus all of their attention on the game to make the most accurate calls possible.

What fans say during a game is most likely in the heat of the moment, and is not meant to hurt an official.

For any event that requires an officiant of some kind, the results will not have a lasting impact on one’s life 10 years from now.

Welty describes games as an extended classroom, which means everyone officiating or coaching is there to ensure the game is played correctly.

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