Youth sports in the state of Illinois are having a difficult time finding officials to work the games.

I had friends growing up that made good money umpiring for their summer job.

I was never interested in doing it because I didn't want to deal with angry players if they didn't like your call.

If I ever gave a referee a hard time, I would be in big trouble from my parents when I got home. That doesn't seem to happen with a lot of kids.

Some of the parents were really bad too. They would yell and scream at the officials. Not setting a good example.

Now, it's taking a toll on youth sports.

According to, There's a shortage of referees in Illinois and across the country.

I think we all the know the reason why.

"Officials take abuse from all corners. From the stands, and from parents. It has gotten worse over the last decade or so. This isn't about booing. That's a part of fandom, but a constant barrage criticism of referees from fans."

How much has it affected the numbers?

"There's been an 11 percent drop in licensed officials in Illinois across all sports since 2012 according to a recent IHSA report. Those kinds of actions are literally driving referees from the game and may make it impossible to find their replacements."

Remember it's just a game. It's okay to have fun, cheer, and boo but always be respectful.


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