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BAD REF
by Dale Connelly, 11/12/99

DC: At this point in the professional football season, it's typical for fans and commentators to complain about "Bad Refs".
Of course, no ref sets out to be bad, right? It's hubris talking ... it's a matter of a fan's worship and an irrational anger and whatever is perceived to have caused a beloved team to not fare too well.
Well, maybe not. I understand that on the line we have a genuine "bad ref."

Ref: I'm intentionally bad.

DC: His voice has been altered electronically. This referee is the first ever to admit purposely making bad calls. Why do you do it?

Ref: I like the idea of having big violent men angry at me. The bigger they are ... the more unstable they seem ... the better I like it.

DC: I don't understand that.

Ref: Unless you've had them all yelling at you, telling you what a dunderhead you are ... explaining in detail how they want to pull you apart ... you can't know what an incredible rush it is, how totally thrilling and exhilarating!

DC: So you make bad calls on purpose?

Ref: Oh yes.

DC: To influence the outcome of the game?

Ref: I don't care about the outcome of the game! It's a game!

DC: So you don't know how the game is going?

Ref: Oh, I know! Of course I know! It's my job to know.

DC: But that doesn't enter into your decision to make bad calls and cheat good teams out of their just rewards?

Ref: It depends on how I feel. If a team is winning at home and they're ahead by only a few points, I might call pass interference against them if I want the feeling of 60,000 fans screaming for my blood. Have you ever had that? Thousands wanting you dead?

DC: Not that I know of.

Ref: It's fantastic. There's nothing like it. You can't get that in day-to-day life. Maybe you can make one person want you dead, ... but 60 thousand ... all at once, and maybe millions at home ... wow!

DC: Most people want to be loved, don't they? Don't you?

Ref: That's the beauty of it. You get two teams from major markets together ... say New York and Chicago ... and you can make one group of millions hate you and at the very same time the other million think you're a prince. They love you! All your little flaws and failings are meaningless to them. It's the most intense love/hate experience I've ever had, and I'm hooked on it.

DC: It's an obsession?

Ref: Yes, you could call it that. But I'm not as obsessed as the fans. They're sick.

DC: Still ... it's dishonest, what you're doing. You're toying with people's emotions. I imagine if the fans knew ...

Ref: They'd be really miffed! How dare I treat their the game like a GAME?

DC: Exactly.

Ref: Hey .... Maybe I should admit to it!

DC: I suppose what would really hurt you is ... indifference.

Ref: That's right. To be noticed ... that's what I really like.
If they didn't care whether or not I was dead ... that would kill me.

DC: So you're going to keep it up?

Ref: As long as I can. I love the feeling. Thanks for giving me the chance to talk about it. I know we're out of time.

DC: Actually we have another 30 seconds or so ...

Ref: We're out of time! Don't argue with me!

DC: But if you look at the clock ...

Ref: I don't care! What I say ... goes! Time!

DC: An anonymous professional football umpire ... admitting that he's "hooked" on the thrill of making bad calls.

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