That little guy up there just wants to play ball and have fun. And that adult just wants to help him.

But apparently Mom and Dad are driving one away from the game, and making the other unhappy...or embarrassed.

According to Today, youth sports referees and umpires are leaving...quitting...because of abusive parents.

You've probably seen this happen. There they are, on the court or on the field, seven or eight year old boys and girls playing basketball, baseball, soccer or whatever sport they enjoy. They're having fun, doing their best, and then...here comes the yelling, the cursing, the abuse. No, not from the kids.

From the adults. And it has to be embarrassing for the youngster to listen to his Mom or Dad berate an official or a coach.

According to the article:

Youth referees across the nation are packing up their whistles and going home in response to increased instances of verbal and even physical abuse from volatile parents and coaches.

Now I'm not sure, but I'm thinking these officials, these umps and referees, are either volunteers or paid very little. I think most of them do it because they love the game and love the kids. I'm sure in the rural areas, the smaller communities, it's friends and neighbors that handle the umping, the refereeing. It's not something they're doing to pad the ol' retirement fund. They like helping.

In the bigger cities? I don't know...but again, I don't think its for the money.

"They need to remember that many of the officials at this level are doing it to give back to kids, remember that the kids don't play a perfect game, coaches don't coach a perfect game and certainly our officials aren't going to officiate a perfect game,'' NFHS executive director Bob Gardner told Gadi Schwartz on TODAY .

Umpires at the Major League level will blow a call. Refs in the NBA or NFL will blow a call. And these folks are the best in the sports world. They have the luxury of video replay.

So unless you want to do fund raising for video replay at your kids games, just chill a bit folks. Don't drive away the adults that are trying to help the kids play a game...and have fun.

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