Hey, football fans. Have you ever complained about a referee being one-sided?
How about you baseball fans? Ever accused an umpire of being a "homer"?
Then there's the basketball fans. I know I've heard some of you heckling a referee on a call that looked a bit biased.
You haven't seen anything until you've been to a volleyball match.
Before the dirty letters, nasty e-mails and threatening phone calls come rolling in, let me say that I'm not bashing volleyball officials. I've been to several matches this fall, and overall I'm extremely pleased with the way these certified volleyball officials have done their job.
But what about those line judges?
In a high school volleyball match, line judges are stationed at opposite corners of the court to judge whether a ball is in or out on a close play. With both volleyball officials standing on either side of the net near the middle of the court, it's hard to tell whether a shot near the back line is in or out. The line judges are there to make that call.
Unfortunately, the line judges are not volleyball officials - they're parents. Sometimes they're high school students. Either way, they're pulled out of the bleachers five minutes before the game and often decide the fate of a match with their "objective" calls.
We all know a parent at a sporting event holds quite possibly the furthest thing from an objective opinion. Often, I've seen the "objective" line judge standing at his or her post wearing a T-shirt with the school's name and mascot in full view.
Let's face it. When Greenbrier plays Evans, how objective can a person be when her T-shirt reads "E-TOWN" across the front?
I'm not just talking about line judges at Evans. I've seen it at every school. Sometimes the calls are correct. Other times they're as biased as can be.
Thankfully, the head official can overrule the call if it's incorrect, but he or she certainly doesn't always have the best angle.
Could you imagine if, in a baseball game between Greenbrier and Evans, we pulled a parent from each school out of the bleachers to stand behind first and third base and decide whether a ball is fair or foul? How about in football? Why not bring members of the band out on the field to determine whether a field goal attempt flies inside or outside the goal posts?
It sounds silly, but they're doing it in volleyball.
Bottom line, the county's volleyball players work too hard and too long for points in a match to be decided by an untrained parent or high school student.
I know the coaches don't like it. One coach said she'd love to pay for two more certified officials to call the lines and get it right rather than have a couple of biased friends do it free - if her budget had the money.
Is it just me, or is it sad that we can't afford objectivity?
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