It was hard not to look forward to these set of games and hard not to dread it.
This was potentially the last set of games I would do for a very long time in both football and Futsal. Sometimes they merge together in my mind because I love officiating both.
I was busy with a crazy upcoming week and a lot on my mind earlier on the day but the walk to the Futsal court from home does wonders to help clear my mind and get into game mode.
The anticipation is always high for me for these games. I can feel the excitement walking up the steps to the facility. I turned the corner to the corridor with the gym entrance and saw both teams stretching and getting ready. They greeted me as I walked in. One of the perks is that everyone knows I am the founder/organiser of the league so I generally get a lot of enquiries and conversation.
I arrived at the court in time to see the prior game’s conclusion and celebrations upon the final whistle. The prior referees appeared to have well-managed the game from what I had observed; I appointed them.
I started getting changed from my mild winter gear to my warm-up kit as my co-referee who had worked the previous game managed player sign-ins. I had just a few minutes to warm-up but we gave enough time to both teams to warm-up so kick-off was late but not late enough to affect the later timeslots. I had a brief pre-game with my partner and soon we were underway.
At the beginning I felt I needed a warm-up game to get into the groove of things having been two weeks off but I quickly picked it up. As with always, my partner and I had team discussions about our communication and teamwork throughout each half so that our refereeing improved after every half as is much more so the case in Futsal than it is in football given shorter halves.
The first game was very technical with highly skilled players involved. I knew every one of them and two players on the court play on the Nationals team.
The second game was more interesting in terms of what there was to see. Both teams were evenly matched and came to play. There was only one caution for excessive goal celebration when a player put a shirt over his head to celebrate one of the winning goals. Something I was far more surprised to see was the team down a few goals looked to fly their goalkeeper early in the second half to press hard. The players from the prior semi-final had hung around to watch so the gym atmosphere was unreal with a lot of pressure. Just the way I like it! Definitely the few opportunities when those matches appear.
I watched the following game for the officials after me and gave a bit of feedback before heading home and getting a snack.
in the end, the defending champions of the league retained their title for the final. Unfortunately I was unable to go out and watch the final but I heard it was managed well and one of the referees from the crew was awarded the league’s coveted golden whistle award.
Next thing to look to is more prep for the Nationals and the upcoming fitness test. It’s going to be cold. Running inside is definitely a more calmer experience than running outside.