Ah, the sounds of basketball season.

The bouncing of the ball. The scuffing of the sneakers on the hardwood. The infectious “I believe that we will win!” chants.

And, of course, some balding mouth-breather spewing hatred at an official.

I’ve been at some games this season where the crowd has turned on the officials. The fans have gotten so involved in the calls they’ve opted to become bleacher refs rather than supporters of their squads.

Look, I get it. Sometimes refs make boneheaded calls. Sometimes homerism is even apparent. But, you’re not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by heckling the refs.

In fact, here are five reasons your “Homer Simpson!” yells are actually hurting you, your team, and the entire school with which you’re affiliated.



1. You could hurt your team’s chances at winning

Referees are human. They display much more stoicism and focus than I could while being heckled, but they remain people, like you and I.

Heckling them constantly about calls and trying to mockingly do their job for them, may eventually tick them off enough to take it out on your team. I’ve actually seen it happen, where the fans were so hard on officials that a call that wouldn’t otherwise have been made ended up being a factor in the outcome. If you want your team to win, focus on cheering instead of jeering.



2. You could hurt your players’ morale

Teenagers are impressionable. If they hear their parents and neighbors yelling about bad calls, it may get in their heads. Rather than focusing on winning, they’ll be distracted with thoughts about being slighted by the officials. This will take them out of the game and could result in a loss.

Encourage the student-athletes to stay focused on the game, not the officials.



3. You will represent your school poorly.

More than once, I’ve walked away thinking, “Man, that team has some real jokers as parents.” If the team in question is outside of my coverage area, my first and lasting impression of that school will be one which allows its parents to run all over the referees at the expense of the dignity of basketball. Don’t be a tool; represent your school and community well.



4. You will sap the enjoyment of the game for others

High school sports are supposed to be fun. Many people go to the games as a way to not only enjoy the sport, but have a safe haven from their problems for a few hours. If you’re bringing a negative vibe to the event, you’ll be ruining something some people look forward to all week. Stay positive and let others have fun.



5. You will represent yourself poorly

There are people I’ve known, men and women who are otherwise good people, who inaccurately represent their character at sporting events. People who only know them from those events will see them as big-mouthed, foul-tempered clowns who take sports way too seriously.

In reality, you may be a great person. Show that side of yourself! I know we’re not supposed to care what people think, but we should all take care to represent ourselves well.



I have no delusions of changing the heckling culture of high school sports fans with one column. However, if even one person rethinks their behavior because of this column, I’ve done my job.

It’s time to calm down and let the officials do their job. Anything else is just foul.