in , ,

Teen Referee Forced To Cancel Youth Hockey Game After Player’s Parents Get Out Of Control

Photo by April Walker/Unsplash

When does a sporting game stop being a game?

When did children’s sports become street fights?

What happened to ‘we’re just here to have a good time?’

Things have gotten so serious when it comes to these matters and that can lead to people having to make some difficult decisions.

Case in point…

Redditor introubleatschool2 wanted to discuss their story for some feedback. So naturally they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for stopping the kid’s hockey game I was reffing because parents wouldn’t calm down?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I am a high school senior and I ref middle schoolers sports for a bit of extra cash and something to put on my college apps.”

“The school pays me and I come by to referee.”

“This time, I was reffing a hockey game played between two schools, it was little kids so I figured it’d be chill and low stakes.”

“But for some reason a parent on my town’s team and two parents on the opposing school’s team were fighting with me over every call.”

“All getting quite a temper for what was supposed to be a fun recreational game for children.”

“I think they were drinking when watching the game too.”

“And the craziest thing is that the other parents on each team, instead of telling the hotheads to cool it, were encouraging them, calling out stuff like ‘yeah’ or ‘he’s right’ or ‘yeah we all saw it’ when they’d yell.”

“I first started by reminding them that what the ref says goes, and arguing would not be useful.”

“Then telling them that I am a student myself, we are here for a nice positive fun recreational day for children to enjoy, and this level of anger was inappropriate.”

“And any further temper would get them carded.”

“But the third time I had to start correcting parents I just told them all, from both ‘sides’ that this is a children’s game.”

“For children to have fun. And tempers have no place here.”

“The parents with tempers were red carded (4 game ban), also I was cutting it short, and perhaps next time everyone could keep their tempers in check.”

“I went to turn out the lights in the rink and one of the parents tried to physically block me from walking that way by standing in between me and the switches.”

“The coach from my school district had to remind him that I’m a student and a minor, and to step back.”

“I turned out the lights and told everyone to leave the premises.”

“Some other people were mad and saying that they had spent a lot of money to get their kids in hockey, and I said that there would be more games, but no amount of money is worth verbally berating a underpaid student.”

“And if they wanted the next games to go to completion, maybe they could help me keep their peers in check.”

“And remind them that this is a children’s game, for fun, and that it will only be fun and possible if everyone agrees to treat it as a fun activity and put the children’s needs first.”

“I headed out and the coach from my school district supported me in that and said he’d work with the rec league to see if they would be able to reschedule the game or if it would be a draw.”

“He asked if I’d be comfortable reffing again and I said yeah.”

“I know a lot of the families would be mad but I’d honestly be fine to ref again.”

“I know a couple parents have emailed the school wanting me to be fired but honestly I think they’d have trouble finding another ref asap.”

“And firing wouldn’t be a big deal because I’m hardly paid much, I just do it for something to put on college applications.”

“AITA for stopping the kid’s hockey game because the parents got tempers with me?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole. 

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. You as a high school senior have more maturity and depth than those loud mouthed AH parents.”

“Good for you for standing up to them.”

“You did exactly the right thing, and you are 100% right that the other parents have no business getting mad when they just sat there.”

“I’ve been at games where some parents got screaming at each other, and a bunch of other parents took action and told them to shut up and sit down or they’d throw them out themselves.”

“And that’s the way it should be.”

“And going ahead and stopping the game showed you were serious.”

“I can pretty much guarantee they won’t do it again because you showed you WILL take action.”

“So great job! Don’t let them bully you and know that you are 10x the adult they could ever be. <3” ~ SetiG

“NTA. And wonderful job. I was a camp counselor for years and i would have LOVED to have you on my work team.”

“We had a year wait policy (waited a year after someone graduates to hire them for a summer) but it was waved a couple times.”

“I would gladly put my name on a wave petition if I saw this.”

“Great job. And thank you for standing up for the kids.”

“Their parents were out of line. I quit sports because of other parents.”

“Had we had a ref like you for my soccer team maybe i would have played longer.”

“Good luck on getting into where you want to go.”  ~ cassity282

“Great job indeed OP.”

“This is a story we all would have liked to have for college apps and just-graduated job interviews.”

“That dreaded question, ‘tell us about a difficult situation you overcame’ is in the bag now.”

“Good for you!”  ~ ABSMeyneth

“NTA, the fact that u; a high school student yourself; had to cuts a kids game short, because ADULTS couldn’t manage their temper at a CHILDREN’S games is ridiculous, absolutely shockingly ridiculous!”  ~ Different-Peak-8821


“For a high school senior you are showing a lot of maturity, definitely more than the enraged parents.”

“Your arguments were valid and it sounds like you kept yourself together and were very controlled when talking to the parents.”

“You’re right, no amount of money is enough to let yourself be treated that way and it was right to stop it because the example the parents are giving in that situation to their kids is absolutely horrible.”

“If they had a problem with your decisions they might have as well waited till the end of the game.”

“Kudos to you a good luck with your college applications!” ~ asterlynx

“NTA and for what it’s worth, I think you were absolutely right.”

“If I was one of those parents I would feel ashamed at my inability to keep my emotions in check, and I feel sorry for the kids who probably have to put up with that sort of behaviour at home too.”

“Hopefully next time they’ll act like adults and the kids will be able to actually enjoy the game instead of having their parents take over by arguing and squabbling every 5 minutes.”  ~ Ofspaceand_time

Well it looks like OP has the weight of Reddit on their side.

Hopefully they get into all the colleges they want to, they’re certainly putting in the hard work.

And hopefully parents can bring back the fun, for everybody.