A recent Google home page banner. How many people is this true for?
or is it more like…?
This week has been more or less busy. I had the first day off and thank goodness. I needed it to recover off such an energy sapping/draining game on Sunday from Game #4. It was a good day of recovery.
Tuesday was meant to be off too until I received a blast e-mail in the afternoon from an assignor looking for a ref elsewhere. I looked at the location and didn’t think much about it since it was far away. There was another e-mail two hours later. I did take a peek at it and saw it was just outside my usual boundary of accessibility (I would lose money on the game). Later after work, it was still on my mind. It had been a tiring day at work because I was frustrated with a bug I was working with. I really needed to clear my head so I e-mailed the assignor back 2.5 hours before KO to see if they needed help. The game was still available so I took it so I had to pack my bag and leave immediately upon arriving home. The weather forecast didn’t look favourable that day. It had poured with rain earlier and the clouds looked like they were yet to do their worst. I was hoping that it wouldn’t affect me since I was going so far away.
I had some car trouble (I know right. When has that ever happened to me?) upon starting out so I left almost 30 minutes later than I intended to having had to sort out starting the car and filling gas. My ETA was still all right all things considered: 21 minutes before KO. It was a 232km round-trip drive and I was set to lose $1 over it but I looked at it as helping the game and some mental stress relief. I also didn’t have too many games in Womens senior games since there were mostly U21 teams in my area.
There were plenty of sights along the drive so it was definitely relaxing. I also enjoyed cruise control for most of the way.
The game went quite well. The assignor had actually come out to watch the game which I only realised at the very end (I assumed he lived locally). I ran about 10km which is becoming my average for any middle and no surprise now. The field conditions weren’t too great so mud was caked to the button of my mundial team boots and made traction was a little more difficult especially when I had to change direction quickly.
I also managed to get hit by the ball. I saw an imminent kick about to happen so I moved behind a player. Unfortunately for me, she moved out of the way and I had little time to react to dodge.
When the ball went out of play late in the second half, I chose to verbally signal before giving direction because I could react faster that way. “Purple ball” One of the defenders seemed playfully miffed replying “We’re red!” The ball was put into play and went out for another throw-in. This time I said “Red ball”. They smiled this time and had a laugh.
I had a quick chat with the assignor before the ride home and when the players heard from the assignor that I had lost money on the game, one of them even offered to cover the difference. I smiled and thanked them because the sentiment was enough.
“We like your attitude ref” they said after the game. This was one of the areas I have been working on. Smiling and as of late, trying to remain calm at all times.
The next day was a local U21 womens game. I had a good bit of running to do in this one and the weather was mild so I was sweating a bit with all the running around. I applied three advantages of which the first two I held for 3-4 seconds and pulled them back whereas the last one, for some reason it didn’t click in my mind. I got flak from the coach for that but I knew I had been inconsistent. It was too late to correct it in the phase of play. I apologised to the coach after the game and he laughed with me accepting the apology.
A local experienced assessor was assisting me and gave me some feedback. It was specific to my Valkeen. I no doubt had some work to do with it before becoming comfortable. After all, I had just picked it up and started using it on Sunday.
Thursday was a Mens league game with a young crew. I was busy at work quite late and I usually have to leave quite early to get to the field on time so I had to catch a taxi. I have always wondered why so many players in this league look familiar given that it was recreational and I didn’t work it often but I realised that many players played in competitive teams and played in this league too to get more playing time.
The game started off fine and needed minimal management for me. I ran as usual and started working on anticipating where to be on the field. It’s been a difficult chore because it depends on the game and sometimes it can back-fire if there is a quick steal and counter-attack the other way meaning I would have more ground to cover.
The first memorable incident was when an attacker’s shirt was grabbed as he was moving from the touchline parallel to the goal line. The defender had just grabbed his shirt and he immediately stopped. For a second I was surprised. I didn’t expect him to give up so early. The foul had barely just happened. The shirt hadn’t extended and it didn’t prevent the attacker from moving… yet. Likely another step and it would have. I was also used to waiting for longer to see if the opportunity to apply advantage would arise. I waved away his appeal and he was upset.
There were a few moments when the game heated up but some man management calmed it down fairly easily.
The second memorable incident was when during a counter-attack, an attacker was impeded by an opponent. The break had just started in his own half outside his penalty area. Again, before the impeding really happened, the player reacted and retaliated by shoving his opponent. They seemed quite impatient. This was an important moment in the match and I had been calm the whole while. I blew the whistle immediately and took action by displaying a caution. My body language immediately changed and I was actively aware of it as well. This was the 88th minute of the game and I wasn’t about to let the match lose control at that point! It was the right course of action and things calmed from that point on.
The players on both teams were pleased with how the match went but I was told one of the players that are difficult to manage was not playing on the day so it may have been easier than usual.
No refereeing on the pitch but I was invited to instruct a session on Law 11 offside so on the day, I quickly threw together an 11-question quiz on offsides that I could think of with a few trick questions. I was told it would be a young audience. I grabbed something from my stock of referee equipment to give away as a prize.
I was picked up by a colleague and arrived at the venue just on time, before I knew it, everything was good to go, I was introduced and it was my turn to speak.
I played the FIFA video that I had on CD (and also available online), which is sometimes pauses awkwardly. I had watched it a long time ago but nothing was new to me. While it played, I quickly answered my own quiz to have a mark scheme and watched as well. I took notes on items I wanted to discuss with the audience after it played. It included wait-and-see and the three offside offences. I had re-iterated on everything and after questions back-and-forth, I felt they knew it quite well. In the meantime, the head referee took over to discuss a few points and I collected the quizzes. After marking them and looking at the scores, three had tied on 10/11 marks. I picked the youngest referee and awarded her the Fair Play wallet. She looked quite pleased and hoped I had motivated her.
A little more to build into my stable/collection of instruction for Law 11 (Offside) so that I can keep a good topic on hand if I needed to instruct it.
I went to the local stadium closest to my house that night and met familiar faces after the game briefly.
I had another game to suit up for on Saturday. Luckily Ramadan was only starting the next day because I drank bottles and bottles of Gatorade and water. I was working with a young crew. I mean a very young one. I could have been the oldest as AR2 (I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before). Perhaps the youngest crew to have worked in the league reflecting on things.
To my absolute shock, I didn’t have any decisions to make until the 25th minute. No fouls, goal kicks, corner kicks, throw-ins or offsides on my end. Usually the first decision or two gets rid of the pre-match jitters but even that wasn’t there! The 7km patrol during the game kept me busy. In the end, about 5 goal kicks and 5-6 throw-ins. The game was well-managed by the referee and I enjoyed the post-match discussion. It’s easy to work with officials who are open to feedback (something I strive to do all the time) from the rest of their crew.
It was a very warm day and I think everyone had drank about 3-4 water bottles at minimum to rehydate. I took the remaining water bottles and loaded it into my bag this time.
Later that evening, I went shopping with a friend who had just bought a new car. He was looking to accessorise and buy the necessities. He was actually considering Hello Kitty floor mats…
I asked a lot of questions to prepare. After all, I would need to buy a car or have access to a good option eventually if I wanted to go anywhere.
Sunday was the day off and time to catch up. I cleaned all my equipment, laundry day and worked on the RA website a little more. I have a few days off but that’s for Week 26 post.
Ramadan has started so it’s going to be an interesting month of refereeing. Ramadan Kareem!