The week started off with celebrations that fasting had finished. I was at work late on the first day but a need-a-referee help e-mail came out in the evening and I decided to respond and go. After all, I didn’t have other plans. Another 250km trip. This was my second time going to this field so I was somewhat familiar with getting to the field. The assignor was on the line and a familiar name popped up as the other AR so I decided that this game may be interesting for the referee team involved alone.
The feedback I received for this game was that I needed to work on anticipating play. This is when I finally realised how bad it must look to hang back having watched so many referees on television remain almost always in the picture. Despite being able to keep up with play, the part of hanging back looks like a delay/lack of concentration despite it being for not wanting to block off any passing lanes while moving through.
There seems to be some potential for a move forward in Futsal coming. My fingers crossed for what comes.
Same destination the next day with a different team and a much more important game with the two two teams in the division battling for points for the end of the season. I worked much harder here to ensure I was anticipating. The game was fairly even until half-time and then the goals and misconduct began to appear. The away team seemed quite startled by a few decisions I made to my own quiet surprise. In the end, they won but didn’t seem pleased by the officiating electing to bypass post-game handshakes.
The next day was a line local to the district but not local to home because it was still almost 100km round-trip. I was in a mood for this game. The other AR noticed and it was just him for the whole week (read last paragraph). The only interesting scenario of note was an attacker in the penalty area running past the goalkeeper straight to goal. The ball bouncing over the goalkeeper and the GK’s momentum meaning he was about to miss the ball, the attacker about to pass him and perhaps control and score. Two defenders had ran across them and gotten to the goal to protect. The goalkeeper realising upon what was happening stuck his arm out and caught the attacker near the chin/throat area bringing him down. Potentially a DOGSO. I wouldn’t really say it was excessive force but it was an interesting topic for discussion.
The next day was more travel. It was a crew travelling from locally to another district for a game. It looked like the field had been double-booked for a game but the field we arrived at was a large Sports park consisting of 11 fields. It was soon resolved. I had a lot of high difficulty offside decisions to make worthy of the FIFA Offside DVD.
The interesting part was during play, I was watching the play (ball area) when I saw the referee react all of a sudden and stop play. Two players had confronted each other and looked like they were able to fight. The other AR ran on to aid the referee and it was defused quickly but not before both headbutted each other. They were both dismissed and the game calmed thereafter.
Perhaps the most enjoyable day of the week was the last weekday one. I left work slightly early. Rental car soon picked up and I was leaving for the game 2.5 hours before KO. Reason? To subidise transport! I picked up three people and dropped them off along the way to my game. I couldn’t be sure about the long weekend traffic.
It wasn’t too bad but there were a few slowdowns on the highway. Soon enough I was in town but I missed the exit so had to track back a little. Dropped off two people one-by-one. The last was very close to the field and I was soon at the field 30 minutes away and very excited. New place, new game after all.
There wasn’t much trouble finding the field thanks to my phone GPS and the investment in a more extensive plan. It was a brand new pair of officials and I tried to collect as much information as I could (other than my own homework). The game was soon underway. It was an absolutely enjoyable game. Communication worked for me quite well. Players responded well to decisions, warnings, quiet words and my attempts at empathy. I acknowledged my mistakes and they continued to play the game. I had a caution early at the 13th minute for a reckless foul and then later on in the second half.If anything, this game was a lesson in advantage. I had to use the wait-and-see for plenty and delayed whistle as well as delayed card. The teams appeared to be slightly rattled at first with this sometimes as they appealed for a foul however the quickly re-adjusted. This was because there was a complaint about the foul but soon enough, I had either applied a rewarding advantage or called back the foul and they realised they benefited either way. They soon settled in this groove and trusted my foul decisions to follow through or come back to the original offence.
There was one scenario where a defender was challenged in midfield in his own half and he stumbled. I raised the whistle but then decided it was insignificant enough to play on. The defender ran through and created a promising attack. The away team’s bench (concerned team) cheered saying “Good advantage referee”. I stayed silent and chuckled since I didn’t have much intention to return to that foul and hadn’t really signalled advantage. I accepted it with silence.
I had to overrule my AR1 once on a foul call because it presented an excellent opportunity to apply an advantage and twice on the direction. Once because of a deflection only visible to me but another rather puzzling decision that was a blatant deflection in front of him resulting in uproar. I quickly overruled and protected resulting in quick calm.
Another important scenario was when a defender was in possession of the ball deep in his half having intercepted. As he moved forward, an attacker on the ground’s leg was stuck out and his studs raked his shinpad in what looked accidental. The defender played through two attackers before playing it further forward but then turn in fury at the first attacker. The ball had gone upfield and I was moving up but stopped to turn and see the results. The defender then made a sudden motion with his head promising retaliation, while standing 15 yards from his opponent, and I immediately stopped play. I stood at the spot he was and awarded a direct free kick for an attempt to strike. I explained it to his teammates and dealt with the player appropriately. No problems after.
I blew the final whistle quite pleased with how my performance turned out and the teamwork with the rest of the crew played out. I picked up two people on the way home to further subsidise the cost of travelling that day.
This was definitely travel week because I had a game everyday and no local games (<50km). A whopping 1000+ km of travel this week with plenty of driving practice (considering I’m still a new driver).
Here are my mileage stats with a little cheating including last weekend:
Saturday was off and Sunday I watched a mid-day game to give an AR some feedback since he had specifically requested it.
Having said all this, I faced some severe disappointment this week with refereeing on multiple counts and am now considering and will wait for a bit of my week off to decide whether I am done with refereeing or not. 😦