Tag Archives: abuse

It Takes A Village To Raise A Youth Official

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I was on the far side in a game that I was working some time ago. Red player was legally body checked by the White player and I saw no reason to throw my flag. A spectator in the stands yelled out, “Don’t you have to take a class to ref? Maybe you should take it again.” I permitted myself a small smile. Unbeknownst to that particular fan, I am one of the officials responsible for teaching youth and adult officials classes for the entire state of Georgia. I didn’t do anything about that spectator because I was in a competitive high school playoff game, and I was twenty-four. I’ve spent the last five years growing as a lacrosse official, and over those years I’ve learned to shut out the cacophony of verbal tirades unleashed upon me by those who have likely never read the rulebook or stepped onto the field as an impartial arbitrator. I do not require protection from these absurd comments, but the youth officials I work with do.

Parents complain to everyone when an adult coach curses at their child or their child’s team within earshot of the parent, but I have yet to witness a parent or group of parents confront an adult spectator who is berating and cursing a teenage youth official. Instead, I see these spectators turn. They hear one or two adults verbally attack a sixteen-year-old official, and they jump on the “abuse the kid ref” bandwagon because they don’t want to chance that the youth official will make calls against their team because of the comments from an opposing spectator. So they even out the verbal abuse, just to keep things fair.

From our early days of YMCA LAX I never permitted any spectator to insult or aggressively question any of my youth officials. I maintain that policy at AYL today for one reason – I need these youth officials.

I need these youth officials to keep and grow their interest in officiating lacrosse. By knowing the rules and their application they become better lacrosse players, which benefits the teams they play for. Also, when these youth refs graduate high school and go off to college they have a foundation in officiating that any Lacrosse Officials Association (LOA) would be happy to build upon. We need to keep youth officials in the officiating pipeline for as long as possible to support the continued growth of lacrosse all over the country.

I’ve worked with adult officials who could not take the endless criticism and are no longer officiating because it, “was not worth the abuse.” Men over forty stop officiating in every sport every year because of that reason, and we have the collective gall to assume that a sixteen-year-old kid is actually being “toughened up” by the sideline vitriol. Eventually that sixteen-year-old gives up officiating even though it pays better than a job at the local movie theatre. I’ve worked with many youth refs over the years and I can tell you unequivocally that they are much tougher than you give them credit for. In fact, I would wager a good amount of money that if I took a mom or dad screaming at the top of their lungs off the sideline and shoved them onto the field with a flag and a whistle that they would quickly realize how tough officiating youth lacrosse is.

It takes a village to raise a youth official, and every adult present at youth games has a responsibility to stand up for a kid who is trying to manage a competitive lacrosse game between children wearing body armor and carrying batons. They have enough to focus on without worrying about what piercing comment is coming next from some parent in a lawn chair.

So the next time you are watching your child play and some other adult is losing his or her mind, go and tell that person to start acting like an adult. If you do not feel comfortable doing that alone then find the league administrator or adult staff member and ask them to address the angry parent.


If you are interested in being trained as a Boy’s Lacrosse Youth Official (14-18) please visit: http://atlantalacrosseofficial.com/2013/10/spring-training-dates-announced-for-new-youth-officials/

If you are interested in being trained as a Boy’s High School Lacrosse Official (18+) please visit: http://galaxref.com/training/adult-officials/new-adult-officials-registration/


Post Inspiration – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/teen-hockey-refs-quitting-over-verbal-abuse-1.2438081

Featured Image Credit – http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/zebras/images/24515272/title/momma-baby-zebra-photo


Cheating Your Body

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When I was in tenth grade all I ever desired was getting bigger. I wanted to be the scariest looking defenseman on the field. But, there was a problem. Nothing I did added pounds onto my frame. I drank whey protein before and after workouts for six months. I ate as much as I could manage. I even purchased muscle gainer shakes that packed on an extra 3,000 calories to my diet. I went as hard as I could but even though I gained strength I never gained mass. What I did not know at the time is my body does not bulk up. It leans out.

Eventually I became disillusioned with gaining weight but it was hard to do especially when I was reading about steroids in professional sports. It looks so easy to do because it is. Just take this liquid thunder and three months later you are growing faster than weeds marinated with Miracle Grow. I cannot tell you how tempting it is for an athlete to look at before and after photos and not want to try steroids. Still, no matter how tempting it was I could not jump on the steroid bandwagon because I had a little knowledge in my back pocket.

“Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are extremely powerful drugs.  “Anabolic” means to grow and “androgenic,” pertains to the development of male characteristics.” – www.steroidabuse.com

Bonds Before and After

Bonds Before and After

Risks of Steroid Use on the Growing Body:

  • Chronic AAS abuse can lead to serious liver diseases including the growth of tumors, malignant cancers, and formation of blood filled sac known as pelosis hepatitis.
  • Cardio Vascular Disease, also known as CVD, encompasses a wide range of complications including arteriosclerosis which causes deposits of fatty substances and cellular waste products to buildup on the inner lining of arterial walls.
  • The improper supplementation of male hormones (AAS) can cause decreases or cessation in the body’s natural hormone production causing both reversible and irreversible changes. – Watch your boys’ shrink
  • New research on animals conducted at Northeastern University suggests that steroid use in adolescents may permanently alter brain chemistry, whereas the mental effects on adult users typically subside following cessation of use (BBC News, August, 16, 2002).
  • Teens most likely will not have the resources to obtain the proper paraphernalia for sterilely injecting steroids.  Poor injecting techniques can lead to bacterial infections under the skin such as abscesses, cellulitis, gangrene, and excessive the formation of scar tissue.  The hazardous practice of sharing needles can present a risk of transmitting AIDS, HIV and Hepatitis B or C.

Now if any of that does not scare you half to death then you need to reread it or just look at the below picture of one of the most infamous steroid abuse cases I have ever seen:



This picture has not been photoshopped. Greg Valentino became so obsessed with having the largest biceps he actually injected Anabolic Steroids into his biceps. He eventually developed a cyst in his bicep and was hospitalized after a resulting infection from the steroid needles. Now his biceps are permanently enlarged and he can lift a maximum of thirty pounds with them. He destroyed his body in the pursuit of his idea of perfection but he never stopped to think about the costs.

Using steroids as a shortcut to gain weight and muscle is simply stupid. There is no other way for me to say that. I spent months training hard to gain weight but my body did not have the genetics to support that type of growth. I was angry and annoyed because no matter what I did I could not gain mass. I could have taken steroids to kick start my body into increasing my muscles but what would I have lost in the process? I would be prone to mood swings, potential liver damage, unable to run because of cardiovascular damage, a shrinking brain, and shriveled testicles. I suppose I could have developed some serious muscles and, as a bonus, some serious medical bills.

Remember you only get one body. Don’t cheat it.