So the season has been slowing down. The intensity of games I have has slowed down to just about a game per week which is appropriate given my schedule, targets and other parts of life.
The season slowing down hasn’t meant much in the department of me being more at ease. The last weekend has been mad! Mad! 72 hours of coding to work on my Operating Systems assignment and other all-nighters for multiple other last-dash assignments. Luckily this all followed since my quarterfinal game. I may have been half-asleep on the field otherwise but of course, I wouldn’t take a game under the circumstances if I wasn’t fully fit.
I took some time off of blogging since I thought it would be nice to reflect on the past two weeks.
Qualifying Game Campaign
Game #16: This was a game of mixed emotions. My third assessment of the campaign and a difference-maker as I knew the rest of the season was to continue off that momentum whether it was on the rise or downwards. The game was fireworks as I had plenty of cards to show and there was a lot to take away from the assessment report on the day. I had a lot to reflect on over that week. In the end, a pass! That leaves me needing at least one more admissible assessment for the campaign this year.
Game #17: A grass field game and this was not so good on my feet as my lower shin felt shaky on every step. Wasn’t bad enough that I should have abandoned the game but made me realise how much I enjoy turf fields. I managed myself carefully. Only one yellow card and it was one of those games I was practicing my S-diagonal. It was also nice to have an active senior referee watch a part of the game and give me feedback on my performance. The game was out of town so a little more travel was required.
Game #18: This game is raw/fresh in my mind since it was last night but I was pleased with how it went. I have had a few games through the season where I have had to abandon the recommended diagonal and simply remain close to play to make decisions. This was one that lay almost halfway in between where I remained in my S-diagonal for the majority of the game and stepped out of it in various stages to assert my presence near play. I missed two flags this game when my diagonal narrowed too far that my ARs were out of my line of vision.
Having been appointed for a semi-final as an Assistant Referee last year, I was excited for my third knock-out round appointment but in the middle! These games were like any other and packed a lot of excitement.
I arrived at the field with a crew member to meet the last member of the referee team. We quickly ensued to complete our pre-game duties before kick-off. I delivered my pre-game instructions to the crew; both members with whom I had worked with before individually and we were using the Ervocom flag set. The flags really helped streamline communication and avoid having to shout over the spectators’ noise throughout the game.
There were plenty of stoppages in the game to deal with injuries; one of which was major that we had to wait for the ambulance. I had a senior referee talk me through parts of the game on adjustments I needed to make. It was a great help and both teams played their hearts out. A goal first from a communication error by the home team to give the away team the lead. Later in the second half, the home team equalised and despite all the allowance for time lost, 13 in total from both halves, neither could net a final goal. It became the nervous ordeal of Kicks From the Penalty Mark, fondly known as a penalty shoot-out. I could see the nerves of the players during the walk-up to the kick, during the process and their post-shot reactions.
The game ended with no complaints and I couldn’t help feeling pleased that this was my season’s turning point. I had been close to play at all times and kept my authority. The experience was different because the crowd influence was one I hadn’t grown accustomed to. Some of the spectators were engaging the players and getting them riled up so I pulled the players aside to bring the game temperature down. They appreciated it in the end because ten seconds later, we were laughing and joking.
The game experience was draining as I was both mentally and physically drained after the match. Luckily no matches anytime soon after that.