Intramural sports are a great addition to any university. They provide students with a chance to unwind from a stressful day of classes, as well as offer a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. However, the ugly aspect of poor officiating can erase all that is positive with intramural sports.
I will be the first to admit that there is nothing to be gained from a victory in an intramural sport besides a little pride and the occasional bragging right. Nevertheless, when a game is lost due to an incorrect ruling by an official, something must be done.
This travesty was brought to my attention on March 25, during my intramural men’s league softball game. My team trailed by two runs in the last inning of regulation play when the erroneous call by the umpire occurred. A gentleman from my team, who had been on first base, was attempting to advance to third on a base hit. He slid in and no tag was applied to any part of his body. However, the official ruled him “out” because he said it was a force play where no tag was necessary. Anyone who has ever watched baseball or softball knows that this call is a mistake. Apparently the slightest shred of sports knowledge is not a prerequisite to become an intramural official at USF.
With two outs, the next batter achieved a base hit, which would have scored two runs if the correct call had been made. The batter that followed him made an out, and the game was over. The game would have been tied if the earlier call was not erroneous.
Immediately following the game, the captain of my team confronted the head official to see if anything could be done. When my captain tried to explain that an incorrect call had been made, the head official said that if he didn’t like the way the umpires called the game, he should become an umpire himself. He went on to say my captain was insulting him by implying that he had not trained his officials well enough. This was not my captain’s intention at all. He merely wanted to see if there was a way to make a right of an obvious wrong.
Is this fair? Should we be punished merely for wanting justice to be served? More importantly, should officials that don’t have the first clue about the sport they are responsible for even be on the field in the first place? Absolutely not. We need to come together as a university and let the intramural sports department know that we have had enough of their sub-par efforts. Let’s make it clear to them that we will not tolerate erroneous calls and unfair treatment of our intramural athletes. If my team had won that game, I probably wouldn’t have remembered it within a couple of weeks. However, since we lost due to a blatant wrong call by the official, I will never forget it.
Michael Recine is a sophomore majoring in business administration.