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Whistling while you work: Video gives up-close look at official working a high school game

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
York County basketball official Kevin Lawrence waits as the players prepare for the start of a game. Lawrence wore a microphone for the York Dispatch to help show why youth officials are in decline.

Admit it, we're all guilty of doing it at one time or another.

The team you support or play for had a call go against them and it's just so easy to let the official have it. You probably said something that, under any other circumstance, would never be acceptable, and it isn't in this case either. 

Across the U.S. the number of youth sports officials is in steep decline. The No. 1 reason they give for putting down their striped shirts and whistles, according to Pat Gebhart, the PIAA assistant director and officials coordinator, is verbal and physical abuse from players, coaches and fans. 

After spending time on the sidelines and in the stands over the past few months and listening to the yelling from coaches and fans, I couldn't answer this question for myself — why would anyone want to be a youth official? 

So, I decided to put a microphone on York County high school basketball official Kevin Lawrence during a game he worked (with the coaches' permission) to see what it's like to be one of the three people in the gym that neither team is a fan of for a night. 

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.