Week 20

As games are coming up, I expect there to be more blog posts since there is more to talk about but let’s see what time I have to unload them all!

Road trip at the start of the week and a long one considering it was the first time on my own.

Why you ask? To meet an Aussie! He had my…

adidasWC2014

adidas 2014 kits of course. With the season ramping up and the latest World Cup around, I had to update my kit. The kits felt much lighter than the 2010 counterpart and so more comfortable. Only time will tell if that is indeed the case.

My primary pair of adidas mundial team shoes which I use on grass had been looking worse for wear so I gave it a bit of a cleaning and in-sole replacement. I have found that other than colour fading, the in-soles have been wearing out quickly.

mundialInsoles

shoedUp

Might need to give it a bit of a polishing otherwise but I’m worried how mud will affect it. After all, these are my grass shoes. I keep a separate pair of mundials for turf which barely need any maintenance at all other than getting rid of the artificial dirt that gets inside.

So here you see regular misconduct cards below.

misconductCards

Using the Refsworld card skins, TADA:

cardSkins

This is awesome because now I can carry my favourite large cards (which is my secondary set) and refer to them in inclement weather. They work great according to the demo so very convenient to refer to when needed. The photos don’t do it justice because of my mediocre photography skills.

I did my regular maintenance on my Ervocom flags to make sure everything was functioning. I found that the battery for the receiver had drained so the replacement was made in time and some testing done. All good to go and one AR was excited at the plans. I hadn’t worked with him for almost two years although we talk very often!

ervocomBatteryChange

This was a long distance trip and the first game since I got all my equipment back together so I had to get everything sorted; kits, flags & HRM watch.

kitsPrepared

I’m always participating in online quizzes here and there so I scored some stuff in the mail after returning! I’m expecting some more stuff too soon. More to come on that.

sportsOfficialsCanadaPrize

How can I summarise all the games this week into one post? I’m afraid you would be reading this for a few hours if I really went at length and I would be writing for much longer!

Thursday

So the travel game arrived and it was travel indeed. 150km round trip and a decent time commitment but I enjoyed it all! There was some wayward travel. Here are some of the sights along the way.

countryRoadsOville

countrySideOville

ovilleCity

It was cold on Thursday for the second game of the season. Surprisingly, in fact, that it felt like 5 degrees. A big jump considering I had travelled not too long ago from a couple dozen degrees higher. The temperature was definitely lower than what would be nice. Thankfully no precipitation however.

Soon after we started, I almost forgot about it all because either it warmed up or all the running helped.

This was definitely the main game on my mind during this week since it is the only Mens league middle I have for more than a month. Plenty to reflect on here. The game started off and there wasn’t too many early decisions to make but I was sure to have my awareness expand to the entire field. This worked well at times but it was impossible to catch everything. I was more concerned about the pushy-afters when the ball was out of play and two players were having a nothing-but-a-tea-party conversation with each other. I caught one early on and had a quick chat with them.

Main take-aways were to take the extra time of dead ball time to get into position before restarting play and to watch my own positioning on free kicks.

There were several confrontations that occurred and from the post-match discussion, all but one were very difficult to avoid from the beginning. One confrontation on the touchline during a substitution, a goal net tussle and a foul outside the penalty area. At the end of the game, four cautions and a dismissal.

Friday

An assistant referee appointment on the day in a final. The most notable decision I had to make was for offside. The home team was leading 3-0 when the away team was awarded a direct free kick that was whipped into the penalty area. Before the ball was kicked, I saw the defensive line position a few yards into the penalty area interleaved with attackers in between trying to stay in an onside position. All but one. There was one defender almost five yards deeper than the defensive wall with an accompanying attacker. This attacker was in an offside position and by a yard.

The cross was whipped in and I waited to see where the ball was going. It looked like trouble… It went to the offside attacker. I started to raise the flag. He headed it straight into the net. The spectators and the team erupted sensing a shift in momentum and a possible comeback and I knew all sorts of mayhem was on the way. There was a delay before they realised what had happened and they really lost their cool resulting in a send-off and irate team for rest of the game. I hadn’t won popularity points from anyone but then again, that’s not why I was there.

I went to watch an exhibition game later that day for a quick glimpse of the teams in the local Mens league this year.

woodsideExhibition

Saturday

Another travel game but not as far. Less than half the distance of Thursday and I was carpooling with a fellow crew member.

I prepared my large travel adidas bag for this trip, my polo shirt and black formal shoes. This game was interesting because an experienced official served as a fourth official/mentor for the game. I got feedback to think on one of which was to sprint deeper into the diagonal.

It was a new youth league so the organisation was great but the biggest challenge was organising uniforms between referees pre-match which sometimes had to be determined right before the game especially with a lot of kits and brands to consider. We even got the league patches to place on our left sleeve.

The game passed with a few minor injuries that required the trainer for incidental collisions but other than that without much trouble at all. It was nice to work in such a professional environment.

I did miss the Champions League final live viewing so I did my best to avoid spoilers but when does that ever work. Facebook and Twitter trends and messages always going around. Not to mention being on a football pitch during, it isn’t unheard of for spectators to be discussing play-by-play relayed to them through a feed.

Definitely some interesting man management but the biggest talking point of the game was the five minutes of injury time added by Bjorn Kuipers. Jenna from PTA breaks it down perfectly here. It’s quite a popular post from what I hear. Something funny I just noticed was that in a tactical challenge by Raul Garcia on Angel Di Maria, Bjorn Kuipers cautioned the Atleti attacker and instinctively almost put the card in his mouth when about to deal with the confrontation in front of him. Maybe he thought it was his whistle!

kuipersCardEating

Sunday

The weather was much warmer on the day and not too many foul decisions probably related to the weather. A decent bit of running though.

While getting changed, I changed the whistles I was using on my lanyard to match the uniform colour (black/yellow) but it accidentally got buried underneath a few uniforms while I was getting some other items so before going out onto the field, I couldn’t find it. Luckily I keep almost a dozen whistles in my bag so I reached for my blue and red Foxes. This was interesting because I have never refereed before without a lanyard so with my red whistle in the pocket, I held my blue whistle.

To my absolute surprise, I really enjoyed it. It was slightly difficult to adjust/orient the whistle when I needed to blow it if I wasn’t holding it properly but I really enjoyed the hands-free nature. Reminds me of a video I saw of Rizzoli. Jenna at PTA will probably appreciate this remark! I think I may try this out more.

On the negative, I almost yelled “Advantage” with the whistle in my mouth.

The game wasn’t very difficult. There was more management of coaches than of players if anything but it was a close game ending 2-1 after goals at both ends.

I am relieved at the short break for now. Some good time to recover from the five games in the last week. 40km total field coverage.

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