Youth fall sports are going strong and you might need to pay close attention to the referees' whistles.

Dating a youth hockey coach has reminded me that no one gets sassier and more bent out of shape than entitled sports parents. Suddenly, their kid is the next professional star and the coaches and referees are just out to get them. And if you realize this is you, consider this an intervention.


Basketball Victoria has started a program to combat the parents' attitudes a bit and the hope is that it will make it's way into U.S. kids' sports too.

The Green Whistle

Parents (and spectators in general) are quick to pop off at referees but it's important to remember that youth sports refs (and coaches) are volunteers. They don't have to be there but they want to help your kid to enjoy and play the game. They don't deserve any attitude.

This is especially true for younger referees. USA Soccer allows kids to become youth sports refs as young as 13. For National Junior Basketball, the minimum age is 16, and for USA Hockey, there's not a minimum age and some kids become refs as young as 10. The ref age requirements for different youth sports can also vary by local leagues and programs.

So to remind sassy parents and spectators that some of these ref volunteers are literally kids themselves, Basketball Victoria rolled out a green whistle.

If you see a ref wearing a green whistle, it means that person is under 18.

The goal is not only for parents to not be mean to the underage ref but also to watch what they're saying and doing in their vicinity. They're just kids too. The green whistle is also intended to be a nod to the kid's willingness to take on a volunteer role.

Kid ref or not, please don't get a ridiculous, loud, sassy attitude at your kids' games this fall. Every adult helping with it likely doesn't have to be there and they're definitely not out to get your kid.

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