The long weekend had arrived on Thursday evening (Friday has no classes for me this summer). What was my agenda? Refereeing of course! This was the season kick-off weekend after which all the leagues start. I was called by a fellow colleague in Toronto to join his crew (a familiar one) several weeks earlier and I was very much looking forward to working with them.
Three match appointments each day. Two days. Two lines and one middle each day.
Friday was spent getting my affairs in order including ensuring that my local intramural league was well-furnished for the kick-off following the long weekend. Gamebags were ready and the season’s appointments for my referee roster published on the electronic system (I’m an assignor). I had also restructured the rules posted on the website to specify the league’s own rules over the Laws of the Game in a well-structured format. The league captains’ and referee meeting had gone well the past week with the major changes made so it is hopefully smooth-sailing from now on.
After going on an evening trip with a colleague, RM, on a mission to stock up on energy drinks for the next month and a half or so, I readied my bags (or rather bag; a large one) for my winded bus trip to Toronto.
The local bus thankfully got me to the bus terminal in time to grab a quick bite to eat and rush the food to the bus. My personal trick of keeping myself on time is keeping my watch slightly ahead of the actual time although by an unknown factor so I never really know what the exact real time is. Turns out I was a few minutes early when I had settled down on the bus. The bus proceeded on a long-winded trip from Kitchener to two stops in Cambridge and three in Guelph before we finally got on the highway more than an hour later!
I was only carrying two bags with me; my backpack with my laptop and my new referee bag which could be the size of check-in luggage. I had thought twice earlier in the day whether the purchase was justified given the sheer size and bulkiness but I realised that it was more than appropriate for long trips like this.
I disembarked the bus after the two hour trip and did a quick set of stretches on the bus and in the terminal area. I had read a lot of travel tips for FIFA referees who flew to different cities for games and had to make sure they were in top fitness and not fatigued by the travel. I knew I was nowhere near that league or level but I went through the routine so I wouldn’t hit any hiccups the next morning for the games. I was focused on my mental and physical preparation. The travel definitely made it feel like a mission/journey of its own. Long-distance travel is something I should get more used to.
My journey was, however, far from over. A subway, rail ride, bus and walking about 30 kilometres later found me at my stay for the night. Straight to bed. It’s an early early morning tomorrow.