When I am on assignment at a game I not only pay attention to what is happening during the game itself but also the sideline chatter. Sideline chatter can range from coaches discussing strategy, to the line crew – the guys in charge of the down markers – chatting about what the coach should do on the next play or should have done on the last play. During one of the football games I covered I was on the visitors sideline and I overheard an individual with camera in hand, not sure if they were press or not, and another individual who was keeping stats discussing the many penalties against their team. It’s something you hear at every game, during almost every sport and most fans feel that their team never gets the “calls” to go their way. There is also the statement thrown out that the officials are probably home town officials.
I was already beginning to chuckle as a result of their conversation when the next thing I know, they are including the nearest official in their sideline chatter. The official was a little confused at their accusations and then mentioned that his crew was not even from the area. Of course this did not stop the chatter and these individuals continued to state how whenever their team is on the road, they never get the calls to go their way. At this point I let out a loud chuckle at the sheer silliness of the exchange.
Now, what completes this story is the sideline chatter I heard a few minutes later after I had moved to the other side of the field, the home side, to get a different vantage point. As I was videotaping, a play was flagged by an official. Immediately after it was indicated that the penalty was against the home team, a fan started complaining about the call and how the officials need to call it both ways, etc. I chuckled again and continued with my videotaping.
So, at the next sporting event you attend, while you are complaining about the poor calls, so are the fans of the other team. Just let it go and enjoy the game.
Oh, and if you are wondering if the officials were calling it both ways, yes they were.