Imagine having a person you’ve never met show up at your place of work and tell you that you are stupid and a cheater, too.

This harassment is not a new burden carried by high school officials throughout the country, but the level of intensity seems to be increasing. I’m not going to point out any situation I have witnessed in Socorro County or on the road, but there’s an increasing problem.

As a person allowed the privilege of being right on top of the game along with the coaches and players, I know the officials sometimes get it wrong.

A basketball or football officiating crew will “miss it” a couple of times in games because there is simply too much going on to catch everything.

If you need proof of the errors made, just look at the millions of dollars spent on instant replay in professional sports.

High school officials aren’t perfect, but they are dedicated to what they do and try to get it right. Officials at the high school level don’t have the benefit of instant replay, but they do face “professional-level” experts in the stands.

According to a couple of friends who don the black-and-white stripes on game nights – officials are walking away from the game because they don’t want to be abused, and the level of abuse has been rising.

The officials now calling games are standing up for themselves, and fans are getting warnings. Those fans who fail to heed the cautions are getting tossed from events.

Those so-called experts don’t seem to realize that the officials chapter isn’t going to send someone more qualified next time. Instead, it might be that guy or gal fresh up from calling junior varsity games simply because there’s no one else available.

How would you like to be in a district championship game and find out one of the officials is calling their first varsity contest?

It boils down to the harder and more crudely the experts complain about the situation, the worse it will become because the damage is self-inflicted.

The Amarillo officials chapter recently addressed the issue of officials being verbally abused and had to warn that anyone using the “F” bomb would immediately be ejected. MaxPreps followed up with a similar story about a national trend of high school fans taking it too far.

Being an “expert” isn’t a problem, but when you feel obliged to call someone a “cheater” or drop the “F” bomb in expressing your displeasure at a missed call or mistake – you have crossed the line and need to pack up your popcorn and go home because you just lost that expert status.