Team Captain Calls Out Student Section in Social Media Post

Team Captain Calls Out Student Section in Social Media Post


During the home opener for La Crescent-Hokah High School in Minnesota, the fans were rough on the referees. Members of the student section were yelling at the refs and criticizing the refs. Some thought the student section went too far. Senior captain Noah Bjerke-Wieser of the boy’s basketball team was one of those individuals. So, he decided to make a post on social media to remind his fellow students about sportsmanship.

“We need to stop yelling at the refs.  We all get that it is frustrating when the officiating in a game is not great, but we need to stop the harassing behavior. It is hard enough to get officials to ref a varsity game anyway, it doesn’t help when they specifically don’t want to ref a La Cresent game. As spectators, please let the players play, the coaches coach and the officials officiate. I hope we can all come together as a community and change for the better. Thank you for coming out and supporting us, but please support our team in a positive way.”

Noah’s coach, Ryan Thibodeau, says everyone can learn about good sportsmanship from his captain. “As a coach you hope that everyone who plays for you, leaves with a little something, but it’s really kind of cool when you learn from your players. It was a pretty cool overall message.”

Joe’s Perspective: An unspoken rule of our culture is an acceptance of yelling at the refs. However, there is a big difference between yelling at an NBA ref or a college ref (within reason) and yelling at a ref at a high school game. First, refs at the highest levels are paid quite well. Second, there is not a shortage of refs at the pro or college level. The story is very different at the high school and middle school level. It is tough to find refs for all of these games. It’s important to know that officials are not paid very well. High school athletic departments just don’t have the funding to pay officials much money. And, if you are not making a lot of money as a ref, the last thing you want to do is get harassed by a rude crowd of high school students. Many officials conclude that it is not worth it and quit the profession altogether. Others decide that they will never return to officiate a game at “that school” again. So, if you are a middle or high school student, please listen to the message provided by Noah, the senior captain from La Crescent High School.

Your Turn: Please rate the behavior of the student section of your school on a scale of 1-10 (1 is awful, 10 is fantastic). Explain your rating.

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