Imagine if no matter what you did, which way you went or what decision you made, a majority of people still hated you. It would be a tough way to live if you asked me, but there are people who suffer through this in order to do their jobs. Now, I know what you are thinking. Who in their right mind would ever take a job where they are put into a position where they are not liked and not appreciated? Well, there are a select few who do and in sports they are called referees.

A few weeks ago, Southwestern football was playing arch rival Friends University at Jantz Statdium. It was late in the fourth quarter and the Builders were up 17-12. Friends had the ball deep in their own territory and had not been very efficient on offense throughout the game. I have doubts that there was anyone who thought SC was going to lose the game 20-17 in the final seconds after watching the first three and a half quarters of action.

On Friend’s final drive of that game, SC had 60 yards of penalties against them, a number that resembles an end of the game statistic rather than one drive alone. Some may argue that it wasn’t so much those out on the field that were at fault, but those in the zebra stripes for making unjust calls. Heck, I will even argue that some were not exactly “fair,” but there is a catch.

I will scream, plead and even cry when a ref misses or makes the wrong call. I remember watching the top ten worst calls in the history of football on NFL Network one day and cringing at some of the plays I saw. I couldn’t help, though, but sit back and sigh because it happens all the time in every sport and will continue to happen for years to come.

Referees are underappreciated because they have the hardest and most pressured job in the world. If they make one mistake, the entire world will be breathing down their shoulders. Not only that, but it just means there will be even more pressure to make the right call next time.

What I feel some people miss is that, no matter what, there will be times when the referees make mistakes. They are only human and with every sporting event, you have to factor in the human error that occurs.

Though I can’t stand it when injustice happens in sports, I can’t stay mad at the calls made when I remember what those guys have to go through out on the sidelines, on the field and, if you play tennis, even in the stands. They are being paid to make calls from what they see and to do so to the best of their abilities. Unless we make super zoom slow-motion contact lenses for the refs to wear during games, the best of their abilities will remain with their human eyes.

All I have to say is, though it made me sick to swallow after seeing a game like Southwestern versus Friends, the refs do not deserve all of the hate that they endure at every sporting event. I’m not saying don’t show your opinion when a bad call is made, but do try to picture yourself out there having to deal with the all of the unfriendly disagreements.

Maybe universal instant replay doesn’t sound so bad after all, especially if every play is reviewed for extra certainty. I guess the only downside is that we would have to start every sporting event at 7 a.m. if we want to finish by midnight.

Clinton Dick is a sophomore majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at clinton.dick@sckans.edu.