On Tuesday night, I had the chance to work the chains for my son's 8th-grade football game in Marion. I enjoy doing it from time to time. You get down on the field and can see all the plays up close and personal. It also allows you to work closely with the officials calling the game. Yes, the referees. They take abuse from coaches and fans alike. This Tuesday night would be no different.

Now mind you, this was an 8th-grade football game. This wasn't varsity high school, college, or even the NFL. These referees were probably not being paid much to be there and suffered in the elements just like the rest of us did. I happened to be on the visiting sideline of Tuesday's game, but I know that it's the same on the home sidelines too. Whenever a call is made against that team, it just can't be right. I saw numerous penalties called and the coaches just couldn't believe what was happening. I couldn't either. That's because the call in question took place on the OTHER side of the field. The only person who could see it was the official calling the game positioned there. Coaches also argued a non-call against the other team. The sideline referee calmly explained to the coach what he saw and why he called what he did.

The game of football moves fast. As kids get bigger and stronger it gets harder to see every penalty. The referees on the field are doing the best they can. And trust me, they have a much better view than you do in the stands, despite what you may think. If you think the referee's job is easy, I encourage to work the chains at your kids next game. It will give you a whole new perspective on one of the toughest jobs in sports.

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