Here we are, almost a month into the weirdest high school sports season that any of us can remember, and so far, we’ve gotten through it mostly unscathed — at least around these parts.
Yep, things feel normal, for the most part. But let’s not forget how quickly things can change for reasons beyond our control.
Basically, we need to be thankful for what we’ve got while we’ve got it. And, unfortunately, some have already lost sight of that.
You see, the players are excited to get back to the games they love, but they’re not the only ones. Coaches are glad to be back with their players. Officials are glad to be back out there, making it so the games can go on. The fans are glad to be back in the stands. These are kids playing games. It’s supposed to be fun.
And, it is, at least until someone crosses the line. Someone, like the overzealous Uintah parent that decided to go on a profanity-laced tirade against a soccer official in the waning moments of a game his team was winning by five goals at Tooele High on Monday night. Yes, the match between Uintah and Tooele got physical. The Utes’ goalkeeper got a red card for a bad challenge. Players on both teams got their fair share of bumps and bruises. But, that’s the nature of the beast when it comes to soccer.
While it’s not the ultimate contact sport, soccer isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s only one ball, and when two people are going full-speed after it, there are going to be collisions — sometimes unpleasant ones, in fact.
But high school sports aren’t life and death. Your average high school soccer official isn’t going to be officiating a FIFA World Cup game anytime soon, nor are they paid like it. All that foul-mouthed Uintah fan accomplished by going off on a ref was getting an early start to his long drive back to Vernal. Well, that and likely embarrassing whichever Uintah player he was there to see and reflecting poorly on his community.
However, let’s not pretend that we don’t have some — shall we say — excitable fans right here in our own backyard. I’ve heard it all in my six years of covering high school sports here in Tooele County, and the eight years I spent in New Mexico and California before that. I’m a die-hard sports fan myself. I get it.
But, under these circumstances, can’t we just cut each other a break? Everyone involved in making sure these games go on is doing the best they can. So the officiating isn’t perfect. So what? Would you rather have a game where a few honest mistakes are made, or no games at all?
We know all too well what “no games at all” feels like after this past spring. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we won’t have to experience that again. We only have so much control over it, but let’s avoid the self-inflicted wounds of running the people off who make the games possible.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. His only complaint about the sports season so far has been the heat. Email him at email@example.com.