The aftermath of the pandemic has created shortages of all kinds; shortage of new cars, shortage of various foods, shortage of workers in all industries just to name three. Some shortages have recovered better than others. One such shortage that we may end up having to face, especially in East Texas, is not enough referees to officiate our beloved Friday night football games.

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Its Not Just for Football

Its not just football that's seeing the shortage of referees, its any youth sport and its happening all across the state of Texas. Football is the main focus right now because each game needs five to seven officials per game. Multiply that number by the number of games played in East Texas alone and you can see that a lot of officials are needed every Friday night.

Why are fewer people wanting to become a sports official?

That's a good question that can be easily answered just by listening in the stands. We love seeing our kids on the field competing. We all want our kids to win. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in the parents who think their kid is the greatest athlete ever and that they play the sport to perfection so they shouldn't be called for an infraction and start yelling at the referee.

I've seen it so many times and it embarrasses their kid and just makes the parent look completely stupid.

In other cases, it comes down to a coach who can't control his or her emotions. A coach is like the parent in the fact that they want their team to win and believe that their team can win. Again, nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in going overboard about an on the field call from an official and then getting in their face cussing or hurling insults.

I've witnessed that first hand and its really unnecessary.

"Football game schedule is, Thursday afternoon, Friday night football, Thursday afternoon sub varsity and Monday night meetings and training that we go through. So there’s  a commitment there," - President, Tyler chapter, of the Texas Association of Officials.

The time needed to put in being a referee also has played a part in the shortage. If you have a full time job, it can be difficult to maneuver a work schedule around to make time for games and training.

Prove it! See if Can Do a Better Job than the Referees You Love to Yell at

I mean, challenge yourself. In the course of your yelling about the refereeing, you probably have said you could do a better job. Well, here's your chance to back up that statement. Go to and apply to become a sports official. This could be for football, basketball, baseball, soccer or other sports.

In the meantime, head out to the stadium on Friday nights and cheer on your kid and his or her teammates, win or lose, and let the officials do their job.

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