Toughest job in the world
Joey Villar ( - March 30, 2015 - 1:18am

Eat Bulaga.

Every Filipino knows it's the single most popular noon-time show in the land. It is a show in which the ingenuity of Tito, Vic and Joey have been in full display for decades. They have popularized so many segments like Bulagaan, Pinoy Henyo, EB Babes, etc. One of my favorites was Little Miss Philippines, especially the question-and-answer portion where contestants were always asked what they want to be when they grow up.

It is a question that most of us were actually asked when we were just kids. Some of the most popular answers are the following: doctor, engineer, teacher, scientist and businessman among others. Mine, I'd love to be a mathematician, or maybe a statistician like Pong Ducanes of the UAAP, Arnel Apostol and Merit Fernandez of the NCAA, Sherwin Malonzo of Shakey's V-League or Fidel Mangonon of the PBA. Or maybe a fantasy guru like my friend Erik Ong. Because I love numbers. I never envisioned myself of turning out a sportswriter.

What I think should be asked of our children nowadays, just to be original, is what they DO NOT to be when they grow up? The top three answers would probably be: 1. president and Vice President for obvious reasons; 2. policemen and soldiers (No thanks to our leaders using them as pawns to their politic games); 3. Twitter fantards.

Me? I'm sure being a referee is the toughest. And I will tell you why.

Unlike players, coaches and team executives, referees or umpires do not get substituted like players. They only get replaced for two reasons: 1, If they get injured; and 2, if they fans beat them to death.

Unlike players, coaches and team executives, referees don't have allies. Both sides hate their guts. Only their families and friends are their allies. Players or athletes, at least, are assured half of the people in the coliseum are friendly.

Unlike players, coaches and team executives, referees have way smaller salaries. Sources tell me refs, at least as far as the PBA is concerned, earn about P40,000 a month plus health benefits, assuming they don't get killed by fans. Players? The least of them have salaries more than double what our poor refs are earning.

Unlike the players, coaches and team executives, refs receive scorn and expletives twice or more what everyone else inside the court gets. For example, if one team gets cursed 100 times, refs gets the f-word and the finger 200 times minimum.

And they get suspended.

Without pay.

Fined also.

And some of them get accused of game-fixing sometimes.

They're also the fall guys more than usual.

Like what the PBA recently did regarding that "non-call" in that controversial game where Rain or Shine edged Ginebra by a point. I know, I know. Ginebra and its legions of fans are hurting, myself included. But I hate to break it to you, I don't pity you. I pity the refs. They will be deprived some little money they're earning because of the suspension. Worse, their reputation, which is more precious than the monetary benefits, is tarnished. Perhaps for life.

They are unlike players, coaches and team executives, whose massive salaries can cover whatever fine and suspension they get.

So next time you ask your children, tell them directly don't become referees. Basketball refs, in particular.


Don't blame me if in the next generation referees will end up non-existent because of this blog.


Joey Villar is a contributing sports columnist for The views expressed in this article are personal and do not reflect the stance of

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