They say rugby is a game for hooligans, played by gentlemen. That simple truth has been a consistent factor in my life-long love of the game!
Unfortunately, outside influences sometimes infiltrate the game, and make it less enjoyable. Now is such an occasion.
Over the past few years, but particularly since Covid, abuse of referees has dramatically increased. This is true of all sports, but the impact on rugby is large. We don’t have enough refs, and we can’t afford to chase away any. I learned long ago how uncomfortable it is to referee a youth game when the coaches and parents are constantly yelling at you. I was actually a good ref, but at 14 I decided never to do it again. I have thin skin. Which is why I so admire anyone willing to referee in the first place, let alone suffer abuse at the hands of the coaches, fans or players. Why do they keep doing it? But, the simple fact is, if they don’t, we simply don’t have a game.
I’m proud to attend Markham Irish rugby games, and I’m proud of how all of us generally handle ourselves. Regardless of whether it is better or worse here than somewhere else, we simply have to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard. It’s better for rugby, and better for our club.
As a result of general abuse of our officials, Rugby Ontario has implemented a zero tolerance approach to this issue. Their position is clearly stated in the attached letter. I request you read it, and let’s all hold ourselves and others to a higher standard!
Markham Irish Vice President