Good sportsmanship. It’s about more than just respecting teammates and opponents (super important, btw). It also means treating officials with fairness, understanding and respect. Okay, okay. You’ve heard it before, right?! But before you click away, check out these 5 ways respecting officials makes for a better experience for everyone– even you, Mom and Dad.

Respecting Referees: #1 Upholds Fair Play

Being an official isn’t glamorous. The winning team might love you, but the losing team… not so much. But their role is crucial. They ensure each game is played safely and within the guidelines of the sport. That means everyone has a shot at the “W”. By respecting referees, players, coaches and fans show their commitment to fair play and support the integrity of the game.

Respecting Referees: #2 Sets a Positive Example

We play or cheer on our flag football athletes because we love the game. It should be a positive experience regardless of the outcome! Players and coaches who respect refs set a positive example for other players and fans. They demonstrate that the game is about more than individual actions, and sportsmanship and fair play are at the forefront of every competition.

Respecting Referees: #3 Prevents Conflict

It’s hard when a game doesn’t go our way (see #1 above). And not everything will in our lifetimes. So it’s important for our kids to learn the right way to respond to conflict, disagreement or tough breaks. By respecting officials’ calls, players, coaches and fans avoid confrontation and keep the game running smoothly.

Respecting Referees: #4 Builds Relationships

Referees are people, too. When players and coaches show respect to officials, it creates a more positive atmosphere on the field, and establishes trust and understanding between the two groups.

Respecting Referees: #5 Improves the Experience

We want the best experience for our kids and yours. By respecting refs, players, coaches and fans alike improve the overall experience of the game, and helps players focus on their performance (rather than passing disagreements with officials).


No question, respecting referees is a vital component of flag football. It upholds fair play, sets a positive example, prevents conflict, builds relationships, and improves our experience with the sport. So how does this translate on Game Day? We ask our players, coaches and parents to show understanding, refrain from arguing or disputing calls, and treat officials with courtesy and fairness. As the old saying goes, “treat others as you’d like to be treated”. And with a mindset like that, how could we not have a great Game Day?!

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