Urban Rec On-Site Staff vs Referee Policy

Urban Rec continues to strive towards our goal to provide a fun, social and safe environment for our members to enjoy recreational sports. It is always our expectation that each participant plays with great sportsmanship and a fun first attitude to be outstanding members of our sports community!

On-Site Staff vs Referee Overview

While our on-site staff are not referees, they are there to facilitate this goal, and be attentive so that all participants are playing in line with our rules, policies and expectations to foster the fun, social and safe environment for our members.

It is important to remember that our on-site staff ARE NOT REFEREES! They are there to facilitate a game to the best of their ability and doing so with a coaching attitude and our fun, social and safe environment in mind.

Why don’t we have referees?

We actually do! Every single player is a ref of their own actions and the actions of their teammates!  Self-officiated play puts the responsibility on each individual to know the rules and intended spirit of play, and work within that in terms of determining their own behaviour. A ref can’t know or see everything each individual does, but each individual knows exactly what they have done and in a self-officiated league like Urban Rec provides, each player has the onus squarely on them to make calls on themselves accordingly. We have found that the vast majority of participants in our leagues have embraced this system and err on the side of good sportsmanship while playing.

In our experience, a ref acting as “oversight” has the opposite effect of that which we intend to be the experience in Urban Rec play. Having a ref allows players to SHIFT the accountability for their actions from their shoulders and place it on the shoulders of the ref. In other words, instead of playing to the level their conscience/better judgment and spirit of the play, the presence of a ref allows the players to push the envelope and test the ref on how much they can get away with before being disciplined.  The mindset that IF a player’s behaviour is unacceptable, the ref will call them on it, and if the ref doesn’t see it… tough luck- IS EXACTLY THE MINDSET WE DON’T WANT to perpetuate in Urban Rec play.

Urban Rec On-Site Staff vs Referee Comparison

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There is a fine line between competition and intensity/aggression. Competition is great, and why we want to offer our members a chance to continue to play the sports they love and compete each week in a fun, social and safe environment! Unfortunately, it can only take one player that takes things too seriously or plays with an aggressive or overly intense attitude to have a fun competitive game escalate to a point where the experience is not enjoyable.

What happens if someone does not know or follow the rules in a game?

We sincerely hope that all of our members know where this line is, and are able to self-police themselves. However, should our on-site staff witness a breach of our rules, policies or expectations, they are instructed to intervene during a game, and help to educate participants on the rules or appropriate behavior, deescalate and moderate any issues that arise, and help interpret any misunderstood rules or plays.

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