Let’s set a scene: Two fraternities stand across a flag football field from one another. They’re bitter rivals. The respective memberships hate each other. It’s a special hate, the kind that requires neither justification nor intoxication. Intoxication isn’t necessary, but it’s usually involved, because, well, c’mon. The fans that showed up to watch are drunk, loud, and verbally abusive. The atmosphere is tense to say the least. It’s flag football, so for some reason, shit’s about to get real.
Standing in the middle of that field is the skinny 18-year-old kid who used to like sports. That was before he started refereeing fraternity intramural games. That seems so long ago to him. Now whenever he watches an NFL game he sheds a silent tear in solidarity every time Ed Hochuli is booed.
The game hasn’t even started and the intramural ref already hates his life. That’s because he’s heard stories from the Campus Rec Sports Director about how heated games between these two houses get. Random stories, like the time in the 80’s a referee was dragged by pledges in a soccer net “Planet of the Apes” style after blowing a call, terrify him to his core.
He’s about to spend the next hour or so having his life worth questioned by angry strangers who make hockey dads look like golf fans.
“I HOPE YOU GET HIT BY A FUCKING BUS WHEN YOU SKATEBOARD BACK TO YOUR DORM YOU GEED FUCK!”
“You called that a hold!?! Why don’t you stop holding their dicks!”
“You really missed that call ref… just like you’re gonna miss your parents AFTER I FUCKING MURDER THEM!”
That was after a false start. The ref shudders to think what a pass interference call would warrant. It quickly becomes apparent that the twenty dollars and free Powerade he’ll be receiving as compensation aren’t worth the epic blows to his self-esteem. No amount of Mountain Blast is going to comfort him as he cries himself to sleep that night.
The guy gets it from every imaginable angle. There are the players, on both teams, who value his opinion less than they would Rachel Maddow’s during a roundtable on the NFL Draft. There’s a decent chance the nicest thing he’ll hear from any of the players all game is an exasperated “FINALLY” that really means, “I still think you’re a fucking idiot,” after a call goes someone’s way.
Then there are the fans. The brothers in each house who showed up to cheer on their intramural team do so like they’re playing a game in which the winner’s prize is free Kate Upton blow jobs for the team and 80 of their closest friends. Granted these guys probably won’t give a rat’s ass about what happened during the game even an hour later, but they’re living in the moment damnit! That is, after all, what happens when you’re blacked out.
The saddest part is that this is all the end result of some poor kid thinking that being a referee would be a cool job. Instead of enjoying their time the refs are often left wondering how so much hate could be focused towards someone who wasn’t a terrorist.