What the refs say: Luther Brown
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
A: The best part is Friday nights, going to some school — pretty much the school atmosphere in general. You see all the hard work that the kids put in. ... It all comes out on Friday night. With the five of us, it’s always something different week to week — pre-game and post-game, it’s just like a comedy of errors. We carry on like little school kids. But when game time rolls around, it’s all business at that point.
Q: What’s the worst part of your job?
A: I can’t say there really is a bad thing for me. We get along pretty good. I keep telling everybody I’m a brother from another mother. (Even the travel is fun) because we see places we’ve never visited before.
Q: What’s the best thing that ever happened to you on the field?
A: When they let us walk out alive! Every once in a while, a coach will call afterwards and say that was the best-called game in a while. We try to be an invisible team and step in when we need to.
Q: What’s the worst thing that happened?
A: One of the first things they told me: You better have thick skin. Coaches sometimes feel like they need to blackball you. But I’ve been around long enough that local coaches know (me). I’ve gotten knocked down here and there, but never injured.
Q: Describe your relationship with parents and spectators.
A: I’m very cordial toward them. We don’t interact too much. I went to school with some of these parents. They know me, and they know me from coaching. Sometimes parents are booing, hissing and cussing. But I have a problem: I have hearing loss. I don’t have rabbit ears. I’ve learned to tune out people. It costs $8 to see a game, people pay to get in, they can say whatever they want. We’re trying to keep their child safe. That’s the ultimate goal: to have 60 players start the game and have 60 players finish the game. They might not like a coach, or a call, but there’s a bigger picture than your personal feelings.
Q: Describe your relationship with players.
A: Professional. Some try to emulate what they see on TV, so you have to tell them (the rules). They want details. They want the number. Most kids today are knowledgeable; they know what they can get away with.