Texoma referee’s/umpires hurting from sports hiatus

Referees and umpires hit hard by stoppage of sports

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The suspension of high school sports has affected many in Texoma, causing players to question if they will put their uniform back on.

But one group affected just as much is the officials.

They are the one team on the field that you don’t think about until something goes against your team.

The referees and the umpires are in the same boat as the athletes, shocked by how this all has unfolded and are now having to adjust.

”Caught us by surprise because we are expecting to do games and we are going to the playoffs and we wound up not doing our last district games here," 35-year soccer ref Frank Barboza said.

” There are 521 games in this baseball season," 19-year baseball umpire Mike Dove said. "As the assignor, I know these numbers. In the next two weeks, we had to postpone or cancel 86 games.”

That’s 17% of the entire baseball season and for the 45 baseball umpires, 40 softball umpires and close to 90 soccer referees, they are now without one form of income.

”I think, economically, I’ve got friends that rely on the referee money who referee at a high level," Six-year soccer ref Travis Bohannon said.

”Now, even with the schools closed, the money that we are owed," Dove said. "The schools have closed for two weeks now, we may not see that money until the schools open back up.”

”It’s a family affair," Barboza said. "There are more people involved than me, my wife is involved in it, so of course that is really going to have an impact on it.”

This time off will also have an effect on officials if and when they return, especially for those newer to the job.

“They just did two weeks, just getting a feel for it,” 25-year soccer ref Richard Koetter said. "Now they are going to be off for two weeks and I don’t think they will be reading the book, so they are basically almost starting over; that’s going to hurt them a lot.”

”If we lose a whole season, it’s going to go into next year and they will basically be starting back at square one," Dove said.

These officials say it is nice to have some extra time to spend with family, but hope this won’t become their new normal because their love of the game is why they started officiating in the first place.

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