Going into this game was unlike any other. I had no clue if my assessment request was successful but nevertheless I went into it with my full mental preparation. Absolutely nothing but the game was on my mind that day. The weather was beautiful mid-day other than being mildly warm and I had no doubt it would continue that way despite the weather forecast claiming a potential thunderstorm (the sky told the story).
Following my afternoon class, I headed home (picture above) to pick up my equipment. I met a colleague on the way who wished me luck and I left in a hurry before I started becoming late for my planned schedule. The roads were quite busy as I walked home so I was slightly worried that it would affect my travel arrangements but I proceeded nonetheless. Luckily things went smoothly as I picked up my equipment, caught the bus on time and arrived at the arranged meeting place to connect with a fellow crew member. I was connected to my iPod all the while and reviewing some pre-game notes to calm myself down and get myself into game mode. Made good time to the field to arrive there 30 minutes prior to kick-off. To mixed emotions, primarily a pleasant surprise (as the anticipation wasn’t for naught), the assessor was there! After a short chat, we proceeded to leave our bags in the changing room (or rather laundry room) and walked down to the field to inspect its condition. It wasn’t completely level and small parts of it were wet from the rain the night before but none of it enough to pose a danger to safety. Just me being nit-picky and looking around. The lines were freshly painted on. We quickly got back, changed and I delivered my pre-game instructions in the presence of the assessor before walking out to the field and conducting an equipment check.
Re-accounting the full game would take too long so I’ll cover the highlights that stick out in my mind. The game started a lot less physical than I expected it to be and I didn’t have to blow the whistle for a foul until 3 minutes in. Having awarded a corner kick to the away team, an away team attacker jumped up and emphatically slapped the ball with his hand. It couldn’t have been more blatant and the entire penalty area unanimously yelled in appeal. A very easy call to make and the first caution of the game was picked up in the 3rd minute for deliberately handling the ball in an attempt to score a goal. This helped me set a tone early on. There was one tackle later on in the first half that I missed. As I was moving to get closer, a player ran across my vision and I only saw the aftermath of the tackle and enough before to know that it was a foul but not enough to be aware it was a caution. Unfortunate luck to have been prone-blocked. The ball must have had a magnet in it because it struck the posts so many times that it was painful to watch at times for both teams in the five resounding ‘thumps’ it made as it rebounded off on five separate occasions. The grass was medium length; enough to stop a few long-distance tap-ins and let defenders get back in time to make goal-line clearances. The major disappointment for me in the game was my mistake of missing at least three offside flags and having had to make the call late. My main point to improve on now. Very remiss of me to let it happen and unlucky that my Ervocom flags weren’t available as they would have likely dealt with it.
I don’t think I have ever reaped the rewards of post-game stretching as I have after this game. After heavily working on my hamstrings, calves and quadriceps, the soreness in the muscles isn’t there the day after the game! A shocking revelation for such a short addition to my post-game routine. Only fatigue plays upon my mind which is much easier to deal with and recover after a day. I did my stretching at the bus stop not too far from the field as I waited for the bus. The field location was fairly convenient in terms of bus access. Thankfully… The field was wet enough that I was surprised to see all the dirt that I had kicked up on my uniform when I took a look after the game. Needs a good wash now.