The 2009 season ended on both a great and a sour note. I was appointed along with my mentor, WB, to the Schools U19 Boys Cup final.
The home team had also progressed to this fixture and it was an anticipated match happening at the nearby school. The match played with very little controversy, if any, and ended with a positive result for the away team. The sour note at the end of the season was that my mentor, WB, was moving on and leaving the school and country and as was unfortunate, all good things come to an end. He’s still in contact with me on the bright side and following my progress!
I spent the next year starting my own refereeing initiative with MS called the ‘Football Refereeing Club’ to find others interested and getting more experience in the middle in lower age groups. I was able to take charge of a few friendlies leading up to even a Men’s game. It was definitely a challenge. I remember a lesson learnt from a Men’s friendly when I was in the middle. I had awarded a throw-in to the defending team on the touch-line just beside the penalty area. I had turned my back to quickly make my way up field as play was anticipated there and as I turned around at the halfway line, I started hearing yelling and appeals. I saw the defending goalkeeper with the ball in his possession and the ball in play. Opposing players were claiming that he had received the ball from a teammate directly off a throw-in. I hadn’t seen it. My hands were tied. I couldn’t do anything. To this day, I never turn my back to play on a restart even though I burn more energy back-pedalling all the way and take longer.
The end of my schooling marked my 35th appearance as a referee (assistant included) and the 150-hour mark of refereeing overall; I could have completed the CAS program on this activity alone! Not to mention I didn’t make a cent off any of these games. They were all volunteer-based! Hopefully my progress to-date proves that I made the most of my experience and made a good partial career out of it!